Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I've been tuned in lately to the sounds of spring. I guess people are beginning to clean up around their yards and businesses because I hear wood chippers and power saws going at it near my house somewhere. Soon we'll be hearing lawnmowers - and the dreaded leaf blowers too.

I wonder sometimes how wonderfully quiet it must have been 100 years ago here in East Hampton. With no traffic on the roads and no noisy machines filling the air with sound, it must have been peaceful and wonderful. As I sit here in my "quiet" house, with no one else at home, I still hear the whir of the appliances and the clinking of the clothes as they spin around in the dryer. But with the exception of the occasional horse and carriage, the only sounds a hundred years ago would have been those found in nature, like the birds singing and the children playing. The only times I've experienced such quiet have been when we've had a heavy snowfall and we go outside early in the morning before most people have been able to clean off their cars. At those times there is only an occasion snow plow passing by and usually, off in the distance, we can hear the surf pounding against the shore. It's amazing and peaceful and I always think about my ancestors hearing that sound - the surf - on a regular basis, living right here where I am. For me it's a rare treat - they no doubt took it for granted.

I sometimes wish I could go back in time to visit now and then. I supposed I'm not the only one because many movies have been made with that theme so I suppose it's a universal fantasy. For me, it would be about living in East Hampton for a day in the total peace and quiet of a pre-motorized world. No doubt I'd tire quickly of doing the laundry with a washboard and hand-making all the family's clothing (women's work was not terribly exciting in those days) but for one day at least, every once in awhile, I wouldn't mind a trip to the past, where no wood chippers or lawn mowers existed and peace and quiet reigned.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Can I go with you? Every once in awhile I'd like to go back, but only with the assurance that I could re-enter this time period.