The Sound of Silence

**We had a nice evening snow a couple nights ago over the St. Louis metro area.**

I stand outside on my front lawn.  It is a dark, chilly night.  The snow falls quietly, blanketing the grass and creating white shadows atop the trees’ leafless branches.  Our dead end street is filled with tire tracks, mainly from lost folk who turn around at our driveway (three-pointers, we call them).   The rabbits and squirrels have yet to fill the yard with their own tracks.  This little space of the city is quiet;  however, I am occasionally reminded by the roar of buses and the squeal of sirens that city life is bustling still at this hour, less than a block away.

Above me, the wandering snow clouds are aglow with the light (pollution) of the city.  Every now and again, an airplane thunders overhead, overwhelming the sound of the nearby traffic and disturbing my snowy solace.

If you can appreciate the sound of silence, surely you can understand the need to silence the sound.  Dissonant noise and trespassing light are indeed forms of pollution.  And like other forms of pollution, there are remedies.  For noise pollution, remedies include source-noise reduction, increased vegetation, and even sound fencing.  I’m particularly partial to increasing vegetation wherever possible in the city…particularly when it involves living architecture and/ore native landscaping.  For light, several options can be employed, like simply re-aiming lights, putting up shields, adding motion-sensing & time controls, using lighting that may reduce insect attraction and bird disorientation.

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