light and noise pollution

i am sitting outside on one of the pool chairs in the dark looking up at the sky. this is not the lowest light pollution environment i have ever been in, but i can see many many stars. i can hear the neighbor’s waterfall, lots of crickets, and one passing single engine plane. a couple of miles away i can hear a dog’s bark echoing off the hills.

i didn’t notice how low the level of ambient noise is here until this morning, when a neighbor started intermittently using a jackhammer. in berkeley i think i would have been annoyed for a few minutes before the sound became background noise. here the jackhammer would rattle, then it would get really quiet again until the next time the person pulled the trigger. it wasn’t so much that i was annoyed, but that the noise was so jarring in the context of the otherwise lack of loud ambient sound. every time it occurred my attention went to it.

being out of the urban bay area has been a good change of pace. i have been wondering how much that environment enriches the lives of people there, and how much of it serves as a diversion from the otherwise unpleasantness of being in a crowded and polluted place.  the wealth of different foods you can get in a big city, the culture, the people, the excitement, the feeling of proximity to a hub of center-of-the-worldness. are those things valuable? or just bread and circuses? i suppose it is a matter of personal taste, and the desire for those things may come and go. i know that los angeles always inspired me the most from high atop the hollywood hills. as a beautiful and distant abstraction.

next post i think i will talk about data pollution. the loudness of the background information stream i am constantly connected to. in the meantime, i am going to make an effort not to think about it. too much.






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