Useful And Fantastic: Noise In The Garden
"The noises of children in a garden are lovely - I am fortunate that there is a well-behaved school over my back fence, and as I enjoy the garden, I hear the laughter of children at play,'' writes Val Yule.
A garden is not just sights and smells and feels. It is musical - the music of Nature.
Listen - the silence of the grass growing, the whisper of the trees blowing, the background orchestra of the birds like the French horn and the tinkle-man in a symphony who only come in now and then.
I sent my sister in England a cassette of Australian bird songs - it is full of lyrebirds and other wonderful singers not found in our suburbs - in spite of a Sydney primary school still being called The Lyrebird School after the humans arriving have extinguished the lot.
But there are enough birds for an orchestra in my garden - the carols of the magpies, the laughing of the kookaburras, the high-pitched cackles of the lorikeets and parrots, the noisy noises of the noisy miners, and various tweets, squawks, two-and-three note warbles, that interlude the silences.
The dawn chorus is less of a chorus now - but still there are tweeters who sing for joy or territorial reasons - I prefer to believe it is joy.
The noises of children in a garden are lovely - I am fortunate that there is a well-behaved school over my back fence, and as I enjoy the garden, I hear the laughter of children at play, the cries in their games for particular children to do something (Who is ‘Siegfried’? His name is called out so often). The voices of teachers telling children what to do. The piano-playing at practice far enough away to not notice that it is not concert level.
One lovely noise in the water-free days used to be children playing under the hose in the back yard. Splashing in a small plastic swimming pool today is not the same.
Then there are Horrible Noises - the monstrous crows, the spring and summer squeals and squawks of the smaller birds trying to harry a monstrous crow away from their little broods.
The motor-mowers consuming precious oil in order to cut down a pocket-size of grass that someone needing a bit of healthy exercise and waistline trimming could do if they pushed a manual lawn mower with the proper posture instead of going to the gym to puff and pant over a less useful machine. They would then have the fitness to read all that in one breath.
I must stop listening to the music of the garden and the soundless music of things growing and all the supersonic rumblings of worms in the soil and snails in the leaf and the earthquakes rumbling below the clay. Hark! I can hear a bell! Is it a bellbird? Is it a blue-bell trying to get above the surface? Is it the telephone?