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Colonial Ave Sounds Like Spring

11/04/2003, amie oliver, richmond
  As the days grow longer I find myself rising earlier - usually as the result of exhuberant birds chirping and excited by the dawn of the day. This is understandable since earlier this year it was so cold that ALL of the birds disappeared...I still don't know where.

I think I noticed this most accutely when I saw a hawk on the roof outside my window. I noted that it was unusual because I hadn't seen any other birds that week! At one point I wondered if the giant hawk had eaten them all since he appeared to be devouring something that had wings as I watched him.

Now, spring is hear with a roar. I saw two hawks yesterday, fighting the wind in Loudoun County. Living in the city, birds are always the backdrop for the sounds of the neighborhood. There are the kids across the street who wait for their school bus every morning...bouncing their basketball at the intersection. There are the spring parties in the evenings at the apartments on the corner...with their music and collective roar when the cops show up remind them where they are. There are sounds of ladders scraping and hammers pounding as neighbors take this opportunity to repair their homes before the heat of summer sets in.

Often, there is the sound of our lodger talking on her cell phone while she smokes on her patio. Occasionally there is the sound of her reveling friends that she brings home after work (she is a bartender.) But, thats another story.

I have almost forgotten about the sounds of the expressway - the whoosh of traffic within earshot. Thats probably because it is still too cold to sleep with the windows open.

In our former neighborhood my favorite sound was the singing of our neighbor's mother. She would sit on the backporch and sing hymns while she watched her grandchildren play in the backyard.

One thing I love about Richmond is that this background music changes with the seasons. New Orleans was the same way. Whether is was jazz, Mardi Gras or jack hammers you knew it would pass within the week . Appreciate it - or close the window - and drown it out with the air conditioner.

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