I didn’t realize how quiet it was until I heard a plane fly over a couple of mornings ago.
Normally, planes flying over our house is normal. We live right under the glidepath to one of Calgary International Airport’s two main runways; the other glidepath is just to the east of us. During airport rush hours, planes constantly arrive and depart overhead. The air is filled with their roars and whines. One of our summer “games” is to identify the airline of each plane and then to imagine where it might be coming from (or going to, if it is taking off).
But the other morning, when I heard that plane fly over, I realized it was the first one I had heard in a long time. The occasional plane still flies over, but mostly the skies are silent.
We live a stone’s throw from what’s known as the Trischools area – a complex consisting of a French immersion primary school, a middle school and a high school. Right now, assuming the wind is blowing in the right direction, we should be able to hear the students laughing and shouting when they’re out for recess. At the very least, we should hear the buzzer indicating time to change class. And the honk and squeal and rumble of cars come to pick up the children.
But now, nothing. Silence.
We live just west of Alberta Highway 2, known as the QE2 (after Queen Elizabeth the Second). It’s a heavily traveled route between Calgary and Edmonton, filled with cars, trucks and buses rushing to and fro at all hours of the day and night. During morning and afternoon rush hours, it’s bumper-to-bumper traffic between Airdrie and Calgary. When there’s an east wind, it sounds as if the highway is right beside our house. Normally, we hear that traffic; well, truth be known, we’re so used to it, our brains don’t even register it any more.
Now, the roar has been reduced to a murmur, a whisper.
Who knew the absence of sound could be louder than sound itself.
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