Updated: Oct 5, 2019
There is a desire, a need, a dream, to leave what we deem the rat race and quiet all the background noise. It's impossible to go somewhere in the city where there is silence or darkness. There are always car noises, electronic devices buzzing, lights blaring out into the sky. It's impossible to look up into the sky here and see the stars. Instead we see constant air traffic crisscrossing the sky, even at night, blipping it's way across the semi twilight sky. The lights of the row upon row of houses drown it all out with porch lights, jewel bright windows with TVs and computer screens sending out their constant message, jarring any peace that may be found.
There is a somewhat quieter moment to be found in the wee hours of the morning, but even then the silence is broken by cars going by, a night owl neighbor's blaring TV or music and the ever present lights that effuse the night sky to look like dawn.
How can we appreciate the brightness of day if there is never truly the darkness of night? How can we appreciate even the difference between a night lit by a round, full moon and the shadows in that silver light versus a moonless, black as pitch night?
More than just myself, I'd like my children to grow up knowing what those things look like, in the context they were meant to be understood. When they read a book, with night 'as dark as the villain's heart', I want them to be able to understand what the author means. When they look out the window at night and a full moon is in lighting the clear sky, I'd like then to see the silvered beauty, unmarred by the yellow glow of a million house lights.
When the sun rises in the morning, I want them to be able to see the gradual lightening of the sky from dawn to day. I want the sounds of the animals awakening to be heard, instead of the sound of the morning rush hour traffic starting to honk and rev their engines, and sirens blaring down the street.
What do you smell when you go outside? When it rains where we live, it smells like wet pavement, oil, and a host of other vehicle fluids. Walking through a neighborhood full of perfectly manicured lawns smells like herbicides and dryer sheets. Occasionally it's mixed with the smell of cut grass, but even that's ruined by the smell of the synthetic fertilizers that are dumped around without care, to perpetuate the cycle of completely useless grass lawns.
I would rather it smell like wet earth, animals, and manure than pavement and car run-off. To walk through the fields on a hot day and smell animals, in all their stinky glory, and shovel manure into compost heaps. There would still be days with the smells of engines running, when using tractors to mow hay fields or power tools to cut down trees or build things, but those would be few and far between, and not a constant, persistent background hum.
Even our taste buds have been forced to endure an industrialized blandness. Our water tastes like chlorine and fluoride. Our food is boring and missing key micronutrients from being grown in soil that's been abused and lacks the minerals and life it needs to grow proper food. Our eggs from the store are pale and lacking in everything, flavor and vitamins, due to the chickens being fed soy and grains, rather then let to roam and eat bugs, seeds and grasses.
Not everyone worries or is bothered by this dulling of the input to our senses. Some people enjoy those sights and smells. There is something to be said for the amazing sight of driving down a hot Florida highway and a downpour starts out of nowhere. The visibility goes from miles to a few feet because of the instant vaporization of the rain hitting the heated cement. It's like a geyser of steam across the miles long stretch of road.
It's simply not what I want for me and mine.