We live in a noisy world. Sounds of technology invade every corner of our consciousness.
I am a person who likes silence. Constant auditory stimulation makes me hyper and unable to concentrate.
When I think of calmness and quietude, I remember the summers of my early childhood, spent with my grandparents. I was born in 1959 and although I lived with my parents in the modern (and noisy) city of Belgrade, I spent summer holidays in a quiet village in the Serbian countryside.
No resident of Banostar owned a car at this time, so most of the noise came from people and animals. There were few television sets in the village, although radios were common. No one listened to radios all the time, though. There were special programs that we looked forward to, and listened to in the evenings while gathered around the big farm table.
I frequently accompanied my grandfather to his fields and orchards. While he did one task or another, I would sit quietly on a blanket in a shade of a tree, and play. I had few toys, so I played with anything that was available: corn husks became dolls with flowing long hair that needed to be braided and tended to; fruit, rocks, wood chips, leaves, everything was fair game.
The sounds I think of when I remember those games are the sounds of insects. Their busyness and deliberations filled every crevice of the world around me. The universe seemed to belong to these tiny creatures and I felt like an accidental visitor and observer. I quietly braided the hair of my corn husk as I listened to crickets, flies, mosquitoes, or bees. A large wasp buzzing around my ear sounded mightier than an airplane. All around me, lives were being led with drama and purpose. I bore witness.
Even now, while sitting in my garden arbor at the end of a hot summer day, when the glorious cacophony of the cricket’s wings takes over the evening, I am transformed by the invisible presence all around me.
I try to shut out the resonance of cars and trucks from the nearby highway, the buzzing of airplanes, the intonation of television voices, the battle reverberations of video games, the ringing of telephones.
All I hear is the song of the crickets.