Lige Craig waited until all his friends had been served their first cup of coffee, then gave his favorite foil, Grandpa Lowther a sly wink and said, “Grandpa, we’ve often discussed all the changes we’ve seen in our time. Tell me, is there any special change that has surprised or impressed you? Something we haven’t mentioned before?”
As usual, the old fellow had a ready answer. “Yes, I’d have to say I find it hard to understand today’s propensity for constant sound and lack of silence. When we were young if we saw someone walking alone on a country lane we just assumed that person was enjoying the solitude, the quiet sounds of nature, and being alone with his or her thoughts. But today you can bet your bibs that solitary stroller is wearing headphones and is listening to music or a self-improvement speech recorded on a CD. Or else talking on a cell phone.
“Some folks don’t seem happy unless they are listening to something. Events such as celebrity court trials will cause them to glue themselves to the TV all day and half of the night, when usually 15 or 20 minutes of national and world news will cover everything of importance that can happen in 24 hours. These viewer-listeners will hear the same news and the same commercials repeated time and again. You can’t help but wonder when they find time to do any thinking of their own.
“In the old days, most of the noise wasn’t as loud as it is now. Any rooster worth his salt would make himself heard each morning, but it wasn’t a disagreeable sound. He would crow and crow until the sun, ready or not, would come up over the horizon. And until his owner would get up out of bed and start a new day’s work.
“When a farmer walked into his barn in the morning, it was not uncommon for a few of the cows to greet him with a “Moo,” and let him know they were ready to be relieved of their milk and fed some hay. Horses, too, would often neigh or nicker a “Good Morning.” A farmer with strong hands could sit down to a good milk cow and make the bottom of an empty milk pail ring out a merry tune with those first squirts of milk. And the farm cats, smelling the fresh milk, would mew pleasantly to let their master know they were ready to be fed.
“Horse-drawn farm machines were not nearly as noisy as those motorized monsters used today. A blacksmith’s hammer and anvil would often ring out a merry tune. And the loose-plank floors of some bridges would rumble out a pleasant song when crossed by a Model T Ford.
“A lot of conditions back then weren’t as pleasant or convenient as things are now. But I’m sure a lot of folks these days are missing out on a lot of precious silence and on a lot of the soft, enjoyable, musical notes of nature.”
Time moves swiftly when you’re busy,
I rush to get each job done.
I like having my work finished
By the setting of the sun.
Sunset sometimes puts on a show
With a splash of colors grand
As daylight slips past the mountains,
And darkness drifts ‘cross the land
My good wife fixes our supper,
Plain and simple country fare.
We always have plenty good food
With a little bit to spare.
Then we sit on the old log bench
Right outside our cabin door.
Content and wondering how could
Wealthy folks have any more?
From our valley’s small lake we can
Hear the cry of a sad loon
And we watch a wispy dark cloud
Drift across the rising moon.
Soon we enjoy the lament of
One lonely, sad whip-poor-will,
Then an old great horned owl’s hooting
From ‘way up on the east hill.
We hear the howl of a gray wolf
Up by the high mountain pass,
And the sounds of coyotes hunting
In the south prairie’s tall grass.
While we thrill to nature’s concert,
The evening ends all too soon,
Twilight surrenders to darkness
As thick, dark clouds hide the moon.
Our valley road’s soon deserted,
Unlit by any car’s light,
A sign our neighbors must all be
Safely at home for the night.
One more day, for us, has ended
As so many have before,
Content here in our small cabin,
We hope there’ll be many more.
We count up the many blessings the
Good Lord has sent our way,
Then it’s “early to bed” because
Tomorrow’s another day.