I have a friend, he lives in the countryside a few miles out of the city. One of the reasons he likes it there so much is that at night it is really dark, seriously no street lights nothing and he says that the only noises you hear are the nocturnal animals that live in the hedgerows and surrounding fields.
I on the other hand would hate it, too quiet and I don’t need total darkness to fall asleep. I can usually achieve this by lying horizontal and closing my eyes. Where we live now I can hear traffic on one of the main roads out of our city. Sometimes very late or early in the morning you might hear the two tone sirens of the emergency services. If the wind is in the other direction I can hear the trains on the railway line or cows on the marshes and during the day children at the local schools playing outside. Just occasionally you might be lucky enough to hear a Woodpecker as he drills into one of the old trees nearby. These are the sounds that make up the backdrop to my life. Without them I would have no reference point. At the moment from about 5 am you can hear the dawn chorus, blackbirds muscling their way to the front with that distinctive song they have.
I love the sounds of the city particularly Paris from our regular hotel room on the tenth floor. With the window open you can hear not only the constant roar of the traffic but also the police sirens as they try to navigate their way through the congested streets below. Last time we were there it rained really hard one evening, I was half way through the exit with my camera for some night time street photography when the heavens opened and my did it rain. Back in our room you could hear the roar of the water as it cascaded down on to the street below, the sweeping arc lights of the Tour Eiffel cutting through the downpour. In the the distance I could see the sports park, huge flood lights illuminating the now sodden football players splashing around on the artificial surface pitch shouting at each other.
So next time you’re lying awake at night or taking a break from the computer open a window and just listen to the world outside. Then email me and tell me what makes up the background to your day.