One rainy Saturday morning six years ago I was kicked out of my apartment while a camera crew was there filming an interview with Davin. With nothing to do and no real direction, I found myself headed towards my community garden plot, which was then just a few blocks away. The garden was (and still is) an almost secret place tucked between an alley, the railroads tracks, and a beer store.
The documentary crew had been following me around for a few days and I was feeling contemplative and grateful for an hour of solitude to be alone with my thoughts. I didn’t have any work to do at the garden (a rarity) so I strolled around slowly, looking at little things. Eventually I caught myself standing still, just listening. I had never done that before. Here in the city we are always surrounded by sound and I think one of the ways we adapt to the constant assault on our senses is by tuning things out as if we are wearing earmuffs. The first sound I caught was the rhythmic, almost soothing hum of the beer store refrigerators. I had spent countless hours working in the garden and had never noticed the sound before. I heard car tires over pavement in the parking lot and the sound of car doors slamming. I heard a train zooming past, drowning out all other sounds for a minute. And then, when it got far enough away I heard crickets, small insects, people yelling, and my friend the mockingbird that often sits on a tower over the tracks imitating other birds and other sounds it picks up along the tracks.
I realized in that hour that there were ways of experiencing the garden that I had overlooked and taken for granted. Since that morning I have been more mindful to experience the gardens that I visit with my ears as well as my eyes.
Grow Write Guild Prompt #5: What does your garden sound like?
Further Notes & Questions:
- Consider making a sound recording to accompany your writing.
- You might also try reading and recording the response that you eventually write to this prompt out in the garden.
- Try sitting or standing in the garden while you write this.
- Try writing this without going out into your garden. Turn this into an exercise in what you think it sounds like based on memory.
- Write about multiple gardens comparing the different ways that they sound. What do the different sounds say about the gardens?
- What do you like about the sound of your garden? Is there something that you dislike?