Last Saturday, we went to spend the evening at our friend Patti’s house way down yonder, as Southern Folk would say. It was a grand good time–the food, the fellowship, the laughter.

We were the only noise makers for what might have been miles. Imagine–the sound of friends laughing, eating, drinking the only noise?  This is not the case in most suburban neighborhoods, especially not ours of late, sad to say. It seems like we just cozy into to a late summer supper on the porch when there it goes….RRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrmmmmMMMM. Some gas-fueled, smog-emitting machine gets revved up. I hope that at the bottom of this blog there will be many comments as to how all of you are dealing with the after-hours noise polluters, but since I’ve commenced I will take a few moments to rant.

Most townships have ordinances that prohibit noisy machines –but not until somewhere around 9pm. Even near the solstice, the sun sets somewhere in the 8:30pm range. One guy on our block bought a helmet with a light so he can mow in the dark! I am not kidding. Noise aside, just how safe is this? Mower blades are extremely sharp and should be used in full light where one might see a rock, hunk of wood that could shoot out of the discharge and hurt someone, including the mower. And if that isn’t bad enough, following the mow came the string trimmer’s high-pitched scream at about the same decibel level as a stuck pig, the night rounded out, last but certainly not least, by the gas-powered blower. Joining this cacophony, from around the block, came the hair-raising sound of a chop saw. Now that is even more dangerous than mowing at night–using a diamond-bladed stone saw. And if that worker was wearing safety goggles, which I doubt, his vision would have been further impaired in the fading light of day. Wonder if that guy still has all of his digits….

Here is my proposition. Please feel free to pass it along and maybe we can generate some steam.

1. All lawn machines should be put away at 7pm. I know this is a tall order but it’s my wish list after all so why not put it out there? Moms are tucking babies to bed around then too and they need a break from a long day of mom-ming. For the retirees in the neighborhood, they are wanting to settle into a crossword and I just don’t see how they can complete the squares with noise coming at them from all sides.

2. I would love to see some much stricter emissions laws regarding gas-powered blowers. Not only do they make a racket but they send all sorts of things into the air–leaf mold, dog feces, pollens of every kind. And the aforementioned gasoline emissions. I happen to find the sound of a rake very agreeable. I would say the use of the blower should be between the hours of 1:30 and 2:15pm Monday through Friday only. Ha.

3. Some creative inventor needs to design a silent chop saw. I have worked with several crewman over the years whose hearing is quite diminished from working around these machines for a long time. This makes the worst noise but a least it is usually operated by a professional and they typically call it quits around 4pm.

4. Use of power washers. One guy on our block does a twice annual power washing of everything he owns–his entire house, drive, sidewalk and porch, garage. No lie–we have even seen him power wash his grass. I am surprised he doesn’t line up his wife, children and dog, too. How does 3pm quitting time for this sound to everyone?

One last thought. Does the interior landscape noise of your worry and fear equal that of the exterior landscape equipment? Even without the “help” of the neighbors, are you making your own “noise?” Can you find a way to turn it off, even for the evening?

Since I have made a list of offenders, I will counter with the lovely sounds and experiences we MIGHT have more of if the post-dinner din comes to an end on the sooner side of late.

Birds–tough to do better than that with the variety of lovely song; Children playing–thankfully some of them are actually outdoors; Crickets and other evening insects humming and buzzing; the sound of the breeze moving the trees and leaves; a fountain trickling away; walkers with dogs taking an evening stroll–you can usually hear couples talking about the day, the jingle of the dog’s leash and collar; the gate closing behind someone who just arrived home; wine glasses clinking alongside a supper plate.

This is what I would call, “A Little Night Music.”

I would love to hear your comments below. 

Buzzers, Bees and Birds
Light against Dark