White noise

I just came back from vacation. We were about an hour and a half away from Grand Rapid, MI. Our little haven was closed to a small lake big enough for a row boat and a lot of fun. The location is the famous “out there”, where the tarmacadam is replaced by dirt roads, where trees surround you everywhere. Well, you know that place, I’m sure.

In Chicago, there a no stars at night. The city lights eat them all. And, when you manage to find one, it travels fast and confound you until you realize you’re chasing a plane. I love Chicago, but, sometimes, I miss a few glistening sparkles in the night.

In Michigan, we had quite a few stars. They pierced the dark like those proverbial diamonds that have fascinated mankind since the dawn of time. Now, I said “quite a few stars” because, as hard as I looked, I couldn’t see the milky way, that long whitish drag that reminds you how small you are. So I enjoyed my few stars and I was very happy and I breathed a little deeper.

But, there was something that didn’t change from Chicago: the white noise. I am talking about the faint or loud hum of engine(s) in the distance. In every big city it will accompany your everyday commute, your gardening and anything you do outside. Sometimes there is a siren and you wonder if everyone is ok. Sometimes there is a muffler missing, sometimes there is a bark.

I am, today, reporting that it was the same in Michigan. Always someone mowing a lawn, raving the engine of his boat, cutting wood with a chainsaw. Even at night, the expressway 8 miles away can be heard distinctly. No escaping the white noise, it seems. That said, all hope is not lost because the locals told me that if I had continued North, towards the great beauties of the Upper Peninsula, there was much less population, and, therefore, much less noise.

Still, will I admit it? If I were in a truly quiet place, I would miss the white noise.