It is never silent here. If it is not the hum of the air conditioner then it is the birds, or the frogs, or someone’s lawn mower, or the thunder or rain or car horn. Even the beach is never silent, far from it.
When we first arrived I was always awoken by the same birds, gorgeous and yellow that makes up for their ugly cry. Now I am immune to their call until later in the day. As I shower I can hear the phone ring next door and some early cars driving to school.
At school I have the constant chatter of children, screams of joy and play from the play ground, clatter of dropped food and whoops of laughter in the cafeteria. In my class, the clicks of pens or the nervous twitch of a knee bouncing against the desk makes a beat. Sometimes the buzz of an ipod or the irritating beep of a missed call interrupts the near silence of a test. Students who fidget and play with staples, bangles, erasers and papers think they are quiet while the chatty ones do all the talking. Then there are those who talk in class, whispering as if I cannot see or hear them.
As I am walking home I hear the barking of dogs, the clanging of electric gates and the yells of friends calling from one car to another. Birds on wires and trees protest between themselves and often a radio playing loud soca fights to compete. Later on as I walk my dog at sunset I will hear the thump of tennis balls beside the high pitched bleep of tiny frogs. Women walking the neighbourhood gossip and boys on bikes yell. At home, TV, music and a phone call all fight, higher and higher to be heard above the din of cooking sounds. My daughters shout over who gets the shower first and my husband and dog wrestle on the floor while I sit listening to the frogs above all else. Even once the house begins to sleep I can still hear the dish washer, the air conditioner and the music from a car driving past.
That is when I miss the silence of the snow. Standing alone in a thick wood, the noise of the road and the houses outcast by the padded snow. Silence so true that it fills your ears with the sound of nothing.