Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Noise of Summer

The noise of summer is rife with pleasantries.

Rife…now that’s an word that doesn’t work its way into my spoken vocabulary very often.


But somehow when you sit and write, or at least when I sit and write, these types of words pop into my head.


What’s even weirder is I barely wrote one sentence before I digressed off topic.

Just might be a new record.


The noise of summer is rife with pleasantries.

Crickets sing, birds chirp, bees buzz…and landscapers blast 18 million decibels of noise through the sweet summer air…seemingly 18 hours a day.

Okay…maybe I’m exaggerating.  It’s probably more like 10 hours a day.

Lawn mowers, blowers, trimmers, edgers…even the occasional tree stump grinder.

Noise, noise, noise….

I’ve never seen anyone more fascinated by a leaf blower than a landscaper.

Strapped to their backs like some sort of James Bond rocket pack, they use them for everything from actually blowing grass and leaves to blowing that pesky booger off their nose.

It’s a wonder tool.

This year we also had the benefit of someone in the neighborhood learning how to play the trumpet.


Keyword learning.

Everyone has probably had this experience at one time or another.

The scale goes up…


The scale goes down….


BA BA BA BA Ba ba ba….

You know?

And there’s no discernible pattern as to when it will occur.

8 AM…Noon…8 PM.

The scale goes up…


The scale goes down….


BA BA BA BA Ba ba ba….

And there’s nothing to be done about it.

It’s part of life with the windows open…part of the noise of summer.

Someone has to play the trumpet. Someone has to learn.

Because if no one played the trumpet, the marching band would sound pretty boring.

Especially the marching band that practiced all day, every Saturday in the park down the street…during the month July…all of July.

Especially that marching band.

Not that you could actually hear the trumpets, or anything else for that matter, mostly because there were about 3 separate drum units practicing separately yet equally, at the same time.

So you mostly only heard drumming…from about 10 AM to 4 PM.

Every Saturday…all of July.

It was kind of like those old jungle movies where after surviving a plane crash deep in the heart of darkness, the passengers slowly lose their minds from listening to the incessant drumming in the distance, signaling the local cannibal tribe was fixing to have you over for stew that evening.

So it was kind of like that, without the cannibals, or the stew…because that would be politically incorrect.

But it was all worth it in the end, because by the end of the month a dozen or so people in the neighborhood confessed to various crimes they’d committed since the turn of the last century.

So that was a plus.

But I’m not sure how accurate those confessions were since I found myself imagining committing certain crimes myself all through the month.

But hey…kids need to practice.

So you can’t complain, lest you be deemed to be anti-kid, let alone anti-marching band.

Then there’s the little two year old next door who’s practicing to be a three year old, preferably by this time next year.

His mom gives him encouragement…lots and lots of verbal encouragement…all day…every day.

Like when he lifts his left index finger without stopping to pick his nose.

“Good job! Such a good boy!”

It’s nice to hear that.

I didn’t get that kind of positive verbal reinforcement when I was growing up.  The only positive reinforcement I ever got when I was growing up was being allowed back in the house at night.

If I was able to sleep in my own house at night I knew I had a good day.

If I was able to sleep in my own bed at night I knew I had an even better day.

If I was able to sleep in my own house, in my own bed, without the dog at night I knew I had a great day.

And if my mom was practicing the didn’t get any better than that

But that’s the noise of summer.

Soon we’ll be closing up the windows and shutting out the noise for a lot of months to come.

Have to enjoy it while we can….



  1. today is an outstanding's practically perfect and the crickets and friends are celebrating with their noise! ironically i will be picking up the percussion kit for my little girl today for her start in the music program... oh joyful noise!!
    happy wednesday, brian.

    1. Drums? Really? Drums? Now I know why you run....

      Enjoyed your blog today. Thanks for the tweet. Nice to see you back at it. I like your eclectic style. Keep it up1

    2. i guess the drums will give me plenty to write about... that and her middle child syndrome, but we will wait until we have LOTS of time.
      thanks for checking out my blog, brian...
      happy weekend!

  2. I actually wanted to comment on your beautiful piece, Straddling the Ocean's Edge, which was on the, but I'm not a member and could not negotiate the system.

    Beautiful piece -- poignant, thoughtful. The part about the rhythm of each vacation, and how you have watched toddlers turn into teens, teens into parents themselves bringing their own children there -- that strikes so close to the reality we all live with, but most of us don't have a continuity of tradition that enables us to see this.

    We live on the west coast, but your ocean experience resonates, because regardless of where your beach is, once you're on it, you're in another, gentler world, one that you take back with you once vacation is over.

    We were unable to get to our treasured Oregon Coast this summer, but reading through your words brought me there. The cadence and movement of your words lulled me, momentarily, into the breeze on my face, the sound of the gulls overhead, the happy happy feeling of vacationing people who immerse themselves into the ocean experience.

    I don't think you're narrow to visit the same beloved place year after year. I think you're wise.

    1. Thanks, Carolyn! It means a lot to read all those nice words. That morning was one of those rare moments in time when you actually know it’s special while it’s happening. I knew everyone who has ever experienced a week at the beach, especially on LBI, would relate to it, so I immediately thought of the Sandpaper, every island goer’s bible, as a place to give it a home. I’m glad it found its way to you on the other side of the country. I’m especially happy it conveyed you back to your own special ocean daydream. I hope you keep coming back.

  3. Mockingbirds practicing their retorts at 4:30AM.

    1. As long as they’re on key I don’t mind. What I do mind is when they stumble home at that time and can’t find the keys to the nest.


Retort to the Retort -

“Is there anybody alive out there…”