Let me silent be,
For silence is the speech of love,
The music of the spheres above.
Richard Henry Stoddard
Yesterday, while sitting on my bed with my books and journals, I heard the distant drone of a lawn mower. That sound has long been a favorite of mine. Growing up in the harsh winters of Minnesota, a lawn mower's music meant the long days of summer and I most likely had bare feet. I love when my feet are bare. Warmth.
My brain filled with memories of days with no school structure and adventures made where my mother often had no clue as to my whereabouts. Bike riding. Swimming. The county fair. Vacation at a lake. My toes in the grass. Library books read under the shade of a tree.
I closed my eyes, happy in my content recollections.
As my meditation approached peak nirvana, the pull of a rip cord and the blasting rev, rev, rev of a power blower eradicated the gentle din of the mower. My neighbor's lawn people had arrived.
Blowers unnerve me. The firing up of the machinery. The warming of the motor bypassing the sputter. Rev. Rev. Rev. The finger on the trigger testing the strength of the mower as it moves through the yard. The blower taking for-ev-er to complete its route.
Incessant pandemonium ensues as debris is pushed savagely into a new resting place. The flurry of activity continues as leaves and twigs and soil and grass clippings relocate in a cloud to the destination chosen by the invader powering the man-made wind.
This uproar of noise doesn't escape me at my home either. The neighbors and I know when my husband has arrived from work on Friday nights. First thing he does is open the shed door and fire up that beastly blower of disturbance.
I recall finishing my work week with a place to rest my feet and a gallon of wine. But nowadays, from my most likely prone position in my hammock or from my chair inside where my quiet and silent life surrounds me, my peace is shattered. Noise has arrived.
Vroom Vroom Vroom
I understand it's not only that the walkway is now cleared of the weekly scraps that have fallen due to winds or the seasons of the Chinese Tallow trees. There is something to that Vroom. It's a guy thing.
It's why when a motorcycle passes us my husband rolls down every window in the car and says, "Listen to that."
Or when he fires up the boat and only puts the motor halfway into the water for a few moments and its blubble, blubble, blubble interrupts my content mind.
"Listen to that purr," he says.
I feign having hearing.
I've long known many men like motors more than women do. Hence all the TV shows my husband channels through on a nightly basis. The car fixer shops filled with guys (and an occasional woman in a tight t-shirt) rebuilding motors while the noise level makes the workers shout at one another.
Or the guy with the white hair and mustache who travels around the country buying expensive cars and then gets all tense while selling them at auction to guys with nothing better to do with their time and money. Collectors, my husband says.
Noise and motors obviously do something for men that it just doesn't do for me. (I could possibly include speed here, but my mother drove a car and a boat like a bat out of hell, so I won't.)
This thing, whatever it does, must have some power or shot of testosterone that I only see as an invasion and will never, never understand. Since I don't have a wanger and all.
It's not the first time I've realized that not having a penis places me in a different world. (No shit, Sherlock, but I'm trying to keep this post light.) And, not only in regard to motors.
Last year my husband was hot to replace our old boat which bought used had served us well for nine years and almost 700 hours of family/friend fun. Translation: about 100,000 car miles and still perfectly serviceable. I also didn't have to worry about jarring it if I nudged the dock while creeping into the mooring on a windy day.
Since he thinks differently than me as to what our priorities are (again an appropriate placement for a no shit) he found a new/used one at a local boat shop. He asked me to come look at it. Although I had five thousand better things to do, I did appreciate that he wanted me to see it and met him there.
I found him with the salesman in a garage at the back of the showplace. The dealership had pulled the boat into this space for his inspection.
First words out of my mouth?
"Really? No way this will fit in our dock. Way too big. And look at the rack on it."
"Yeah," said my husband and the salesman in unison, their eyes glazing over as they viewed the rack.
"Measuring tape?" I inquired.
They both looked at me.
The killjoy had arrived.
After much search, the salesman proffered up my requested ruler and with collected delight the two of them declared that the width would just make it into the slip.
"Providing you can just slide it in. And the water is calm," I said.
"Can our lift accommodate the weight of this beast?"
The salesman suggested we call the most expensive dock guys around to come and put in a hydraulic system to be placed on the bottom of the lake that would lower and lift our boat rather than the current pulley and cable raising system we have.
"Is that in our budget?"
My husband shifted back and forth on his feet.
"And the rack," I asked. "How does that fit in our covered slip."
"Oh," said the salesman. "You just put it up and down when you come in and out."
"With all our visitors, we go in and out sometimes ten times on a weekend."
He shuffled his feet.
"You can sell racks on Craigslist," he conceded.
I don't doubt that.
I glanced at the really nice and expensive boat parked next to this one and remarked how its rack is not nearly as big. I asked why this one is so large if it serves the same purpose.
The salesman shrugged. "Some guys just like a bigger rack."
The sky opened up and I couldn't resist.
"I get it. My rack's bigger than your rack."
I took my leave.
Suffice to say, a different boat found its way to our dock. It may not have a huge rack, but it does have a motor that goes Vroom, Vroom. I hear it when my husband revs it up and wants me to listen. I peak over my hammock's edge without moving my book and nod my head.
I haven't taken this boat out by myself yet as I'm waiting for my husband to put a big dent in it first.
Meanwhile, as I sit with windows open writing this incredibly substance-filled blogpost, I've taken a few minutes to listen to the quiet. I hear the twitter of a visiting bird calling, "Cheater, Cheater, Cheater." The gentle coo of a Mourning Dove and the settling of the falling Live Oak leaves as they land on the patio. I hear the pansies saying hello.
Yet I prepare. For as the day closes in and my quiet world escapes me, I hear in the distance a small plane passing overhead as it approaches the grass landing strip across the lake. A weekend fisherman roars by in pursuit of the perfect fishing hole, before anyone else finds it. A lawn crew fires up its motors a few houses down.
Blubble, Blubble, Blubble
Cheers to my male readers. Please note I said 'many men' not all of them.