I suppose it is roughly 1 mile, as the crow flies, from where I am sat writing this, to the local main A road. It is the wee small hours and I decided to make myself a coffee and sit quietly whilst the house is sleeping. As I was sat here, the sun is still settled and yet to make its glorious morning appearance and the birds, whom I so enjoy listening to, are yet to awaken and fill my ears with their morning mayhem of beautiful song.
What I can hear though is traffic. It is straightforward enough to tell the difference between larger and smaller vehicles. The rumble of the heavier artics, the higher pitched hum of faster moving smaller vehicles, the change in dynamic indicative of the general speed. The striking buzz of a waspish motorcycle as it crescendos into the traffic stave, lingering in a semi breve whirr before it plays the decrescendo and moves away from earshot. The same with sirens, they breeze in and out of the concerto, their shrill sounds cutting through the more comforting hum of the other vehicles as they move along the tarmac.
Then a moment of silence. I hadn’t noticed it so much in years gone by. However, since the Covid lockdown in 2020, when the roads were empty for a short time and the resulting silence was deafening, I have appreciated these small moments of quiet from the road. I value the peace even more. Although I do find the distant sound of the traffic quite comforting in a way as I remember this from my childhood visits to family. Where we lived at the time, I couldn’t hear traffic from our house, so the faint rolling sound meant I was somewhere magical for a holiday with family. During the lockdown, the quietness from the road was almost eerie. Occasionally one smaller vehicle would invade the stillness, almost rebellious as if it should not be there, as if it had escaped from somewhere and was joy riding along the A road in an act of defiance. Without our vehicles invading the world, nature was glad of the lockdown hush and I imagined a world of ancestral times where metal vehicles, engines and fumes did not exist.
I hear the village clock chime its time and notice the garden benches have now come into view as the sun rises higher in the morning sky. The colours of the outside world are yet to present themselves fully and currently appear washed out and pale in the dim light. The sky is mainly a bluey grey apart from the aura of whitish pale blue that blends with the darker hues over to the east as the sun must be rising, still very much beyond view. A tinge of pink between the trees as they dance in the breeze, their silhouette majestic against the background. It is still quiet, save for the bustle of traffic and the gentle rhythmic snoring of a contented canine beside me. The mechanical music ebbs and flows as daylight dawns around us all on our side of the planet.