“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


I Complain about Noise

This morning the noise came late,
and I dreamed further into the morning.

My wonderful, magical, full of owls & pigs & cats & magnolia trees neighborhood has become a block of noise, of power saws beginning at 7:30 in the morning, of lawn mowers taking up the call at 8, of vehicles parked everywhere along the street, small concrete trucks, vans, bright orange street cones, trash cans almost in the middle of the road, empty buckets deposited at the foot of our driveway, no care given to our possible need of leaving the house. What was once a view of tulip trees bursting with pink blossoms, yellow roses, white popcorn flowers along the fence has become one of police cars - marked & unmarked - belonging to one neighbor, all the above mentioned construction vehicles belonging to another neighbor, and for a week, a giant U-Haul trailer parked in Mary's driveway, a huge orange billboard staring me in the face every morning. The U-Haul is gone, but the rest remain, the construction never ending, the ability to communicate with the laborers near impossible, though I speak a little Spanish - we communicate in scowls and polite hand gestures and sighs, indicating we need to back up, that we can't see around that van, that we wish they could park some of their stuff around the corner, on the other side of the house, but all they do is direct traffic for us, indicating when it's safe to back on out into the street, and then they return to their noise. The house next door to that one, around the corner, facing our back yard, is also undergoing renovation, and there is constant hammering, bright lights at night, constant conversation between the 2 houses, the 2 crews intermingling. Last week I stepped out at midnight to entice Maggie into the house, and they were still at it, still working on stuff, and from across the street in the darkness, I could hear the new tenants at Mary's, sitting on the front porch, talking loudly to each other and on a cell phone to someone else. It is quite maddening. Maddening! All these people are perfectly wonderful people, but it is so much at one time - too much at one time - and dear Lord, if I had enough money, I would pay them for a day of silence. My calendar this month has a beautiful picture of an empty beach - brown sand, gray ocean, possible rain moving in, and the month's quote is Today is a white seashell, hold it close & listen to the beauty of the hours. ~ unknown. If only I could. If I could be there, and listen to silence, to the ocean, to just the birds overhead. I go to bed and dream dreams of chaos, of saving Maggie from traffic, and I feel exhausted when I awake.

The paintings for this week's show are done. Done. I am finished. I am happy with 99% of them - in fact, there are only two I question, but I will show them anyway. We will print a few photographs today, and I will print the stories to accompany the paintings, and that is it. I am seriously thinking of keeping the boathouse painting for myself, but we will see.

The next painting will be of silence.
If I paint it, it will come.


  1. Just think of how wonderful the silence will be when you have all of the noise to measure it by....
    Shows almost here! Yeah!

  2. What a great pic. Can I print it out as an "idea" for what to do with the old wire baskets, in my booth?

  3. Well, there might be a silver lining here...if they are still up and working at midnight, maybe that means they will finish sooner!!
    I feel your pain...I get really grumpy if I am surrounded by too much noise. Maybe you can escape for a little while...get in your car and drive somewhere calm and peaceful? Or, you could always invest in some good quality earplugs.

  4. Earlier today I read about another blogger's problems with neighborhood noise. I believe her neighborhood is always noisy. Thank goodness your silence will return.

    I live in the country and generally the sounds I hear are the owls and the coyote and a few dogs. But recently my neighbor engaged a crew in weed-whipping her entire lot. They were around for three solid days, and no, it wasn't the cacophany you've been dealing with, but yes, it does make a person appreciate the silence when it returns.


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