It starts out a sort of growing white noise, barely penetrating the blanket of environment chatter. Birdsong, breeze hissing through weeds and long grass. The scuff and crunch of my footsteps. Flitting insect wings, trees rustling. Innocent.

A distant report gains momentum and definition; a growling rumble with a sharp, ragged edge; wielded like the neck of a smashed beer bottle. The volume and gait of the aberration increases, the grip on the reins seems to loosen.

Something is out of control.

A howling, ascending roar wavers as it hurtles towards me from the horizon. The sound front snaps and lurches, barely restrained. My gut tingles as I shade my eyes and look skyward. The source is visible now, a black titanium dart smoothly closing, a fluid sphere of energy expanding in its wake. It gets louder, shrill and tearing. I feel the atmosphere thicken with anticipation as it approaches. The air is buzzing. Nature is excited.

Surely this isn't the sound of something working as it should?

The aircraft streaks less than five hundred feet overhead, trailing diamond-studded tongues of flame. The noise stutters, cracks and bursts like an acid-filled balloon. I instinctively duck and gasp as I am surrounded with a screaming crescendo of sonic rage; the air focuses, amplifies and directs spilling, crashing breakers of sound. The sky boils with power; it is a jet engine in reheat and I'm standing in front of the tailpipe. For a couple of seconds the universe is no larger than my head. Even amidst this pounding assault on my ears I can't stifle a grin.

I watch the plane, already half a mile away. Twin, dark exclamation marks with burning period points accelerating toward the horizon, scattering low clouds. Parting the Red Sea with an extending arm of acoustic desolation.

The sound still has a splintered and rough edge but is more rhythmic and ordered. The hissing cry of passing fire evaporates quickly into a deep and throbbing rumble. The air thrums with energy, tumbling peaks and troughs birthing sonic turbulence.

The water is still rippling, but turning viscous. Subdued pulses continue, molecules jostling less but still playful. At length this settles further, flowing smoothly into calm satisfaction.

It's alive.

There is no silence for a long time.

My surroundings purr quietly, content and exhilarated. Breezes sigh with the after-glow, trees whisper and flutter. Nature seems richer, clearer and brighter. The horizon seems further away, and my footsteps muted. A world within a world. A soap bubble of serenity.

Just for a while, my Earth is happy.



ASIN: B000007R15. Disc 1, track 2.

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