The Sounds of Unsilence

I’ve never understood windchimes. As mobile art, they are rather intriguing, but when you add in the wind part, they are aggravating as all heck. But that must just be me. Obviously, other people find them pleasing otherwise there wouldn’t be so ubiquitous.

Still, there aren’t many people whose sound of choice is silence. There are a lot of noises I can’t tolerate, such as outdoor machinery, but at least there seem to be a purpose to those noises, and once the job is done, the noises cease. (And now that I have the semblance of a yard, I too am making noise with a yard machine.) With windchimes, though, the noise is arbitrary, based on whatever the wind is doing, and in a windy climate? Ouch. Those things are almost constant.

Luckily, the windchime currently aggravating me doesn’t disturb my sleep. In other places I’ve lived, the windchimes were so constant, they invaded my dreams, so I could never get away from them until I finally was able to move. Even more luckily,, come summer, the air conditioner will be on at least part of the time. The air conditioner has always been a rather hard choice for me to make — silence and sweat, or noise and coolness — but this year, having it on will help drown out the windchimes.

I wish it was just a matter of getting used to the chimes, but it’s not a so much that I prefer silence, but that windchimes, even the so-called tuned ones, grate on my nerves like fingernails on a blackboard. (Do young people today even know what that sound is, or have whiteboards replaced the old-fashioned blackboards?)

From what I remember of last summer, the early morning hours are fairly still, with the winds picking up later in the afternoon. Or perhaps I’m remembering the desert where I was living before I moved here. In that area, I know, the winds picked up as the day went on. Either way, I’ll find quiet times to go outside and sit. Or not. It could be that I’ll just go out to do whatever work I need to do, then come and hide inside where it is relatively quiet.

The windchime problem has given me an idea for a book, though. The poor protagonist is at wits end because of the noise, and she talks of shooting them. People misunderstand and think she’s talking of shooting her neighbors, and then they end up dead. But I wouldn’t want to harm my neighbors even in literary fun because that would seem to bring bad Karma, especially since we’re all planning on hanging around here until the end, whatever that end might be.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

8 Responses to “The Sounds of Unsilence”

  1. rheashowalter Says:

    Just be glad that is all you have to complain about with your neighbors. There could be loud fighting, shootings, loud TV’s and music, or cars racing down the streets. Yes, I have wind chimes but they are tuned and were bought for their beautiful tones. I spent a lot of time picking them out wanting just the right combination of sound. My husband got them for me for an anniversary present and put a loving message on the sail. They are precious to me… so precious that I rarely put them outside due to the winds in the mountains. I don’t want them damaged. I hang them inside where they may get a breeze now and then and I can walk by and ring them at times when I am really missing my husband. I am adjusting to the cars and trucks going by after moving from my 40 + acres, but my dogs not so much. They are used to only seeing vehicles that have made it up a long driveway to my house and as guard dogs they want to tell me. We are working on that! Too bad I cannot turn their sound into wind chimes! LOL

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      When I first moved here, there was a problems with a drug dealer, loud music, and theft, but things seem to have settled down. To a person who likes wind chimes, I’m sure my problem seems minor, but if someone can’t handle the tone — it grates and gives me a headache — it can be a problem. Learning to deal with traffic noises can be tough. I once lived near a highway — eek. It’s one reason I never wanted to own. It’s not as easy to pick up and leave.

  2. Uthayanan Says:

    We have two wind chimes (a metal one from my wife the second fabricated from special stones was a present from our French/Brasilien neighbor at Paris. (third appartement). We both liked the sound
    and all appartements were equiped with double glazing and it helps.
    There is a very mild sound with the strong wind during the night.
    I am always prepared to remove it if there is a complaint.
    To support noise modern double glazing or triple glazing will help.
    It depends of your budget.
    Now my wife is not any more to hear but it reminds her.
    So l love to keep it.

  3. Estragon Says:

    I can understand how the chimes could be annoying, especially in a windy climate, and if they’re somewhere you don’t have a (polite) way to silence them. Dripping taps, barking dogs, etc. all seem to have the potential to drive a person mad. When I first get to my cabin, the relative silence seems to make that sort of sound stand out relative to the din of the city. I find it helps to have the radio on for background noise for at least the first few days.

    I find wind chimes kind of annoying too, but haven’t gotten around to taking most of them down. My wife liked them, and I can relate to the comments above about them being a reminder.

    • rheashowalter Says:

      This made me think of how noisy being in the woods can be. We used to live in a rather remote area that had frogs and peepers. I could tolerate the the peepers but there were nights during mating season when some of the male frogs gave us a noise level that was beyond loud. We would shut doors and windows but still could hear their loud mating calls. Whew! Then there are bugling elk that make you think that Satan himself is outside your door or cows that got through the fence and bang against the outside of your house. So much for the quiet of country. My favorite wind chime story has to do with a small set of wind chimes that my husband gave me many years ago. They were tied to a tree limb off our deck and rarely made much noise in that location. One night both my husband and I were awakened by the wind chimes seeming to go crazy. We got out of bed and looked out the window to find a mama raccoon and about four babies in that tree. When Mama saw us she scurried her babies down the tree – except one would not come. He was enthralled with the wind chimes and was the culprit making all the “music” and he did not want to leave them. We named him Beethoven!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Yep, dogs barking is another problem for me. Recently, a bunch of new dogs (or rather, people with dogs or people getting new dogs) have moved to the neighborhood, and they to howl. Even worse, people let them out to roam around and do their “business,” which makes me doubly glad I have a good fence.

Please leave a comment. I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: