Silence so rarely happens round here… sometimes the afternoon siesta of grandparents snoozing gives a respite from noise but generally it is non stop.
But these sounds aren’t the sounds of cars going here and there, carrying children to school, colleagues to work. They aren’t the rush to get the shopping and tick that off the list before moving down to the next “must do today” thing. It isn’t the noise of heavy machinery or big factories manufacturing work and building for today and the future. I don’t hear the drones of cellphones full of chattering demands or call centres requesting what you do not need. No for all of this there is only silence.
The noises I hear are chickens (lots of them), croaks of frogs from the dirty canals, crickets chirping from the empty buildings. I hear children kicking balls, chattering, playing. I hear parents calling their children home, shouting across the neighbourhood to where ever they may be playing…. there is no fear here of distance and tracking. I hear grandparents talking over the garden walls or rickety fences, the milk arriving and footsteps rushing to take their empty bottles to be refilled. I hear cement mixers futilely creating more cement, for more walls of more unfinished or empty buildings that will never be called home. I hear life.
In the desolation there is not the rushing, the racing, the fast paced life. There is playing, family, community.
In the desolation there are not jobs, business, prosperity of wealth. There is helping the neighbour, spinning wool and knitting needles and prosperity of skills we have long forgotten.
In the desolation there is not the noise of the outskirts of a busy town but the chirping, quacking, laughing, chattering of play, neighbours and freedom.
The problem is the sounds of desolation are deafening, we forget to hear the wonder of what is in this place and only listen to what we do not have. Struggle shouts loud on these dust and mud filled roads. Hardships peer from every draught filled, gaping window. Dreams and desires have often been swept out the door and beaten like the rugs until not a speck of their dust remains. But in all the broken, empty, desolation there are sounds more precious that many long for, days and times gone by where community was not just a theory or buzz word but was life. That is the sound I hear.