Sunday Gratitude: Night Noises

As happens many nights, I woke up around 2 am, unable to get back to sleep. The windows were open in our room, and the rain had just started, gently at first and then largely drowning out the sounds of the crickets’ autumn ruminations. If you’re not from around here, the best recording I have found of autumn night crickets is here. I plan to keep this nearby in the winter when the windows again shut, and the night sounds are silenced.

One of the things I love most about our Weston home is the sounds of animals and nature, as well as the lack of traffic noise. Before moving to “semi-rural” (and I’m going to give the northside full “rural”) Weston, we lived in São Paulo, one of the largest cities in the world. Evening noises included traffic, helicopters, planes from the Congonhas flight path, and sometimes, magically, a flock of “maitacas” (parrots) would briefly set up shop in the frangipani trees. There was never silence. On weekends, we would escape to a ranch three hours away, where there were no night sounds at all, except for the wind in the eucalyptus trees, fabulous thunderstorms, and sometimes monkeys calling out over araucaria trees in the early morning light.

I once lived on the cable car line on Powell Street of San Francisco–evening noises would always include the sound of the cables moving under the street, the cable cars, and at some times of year, the drunken song of carolers getting a ride over the hill. The squeal of brakes as cars inched their way down the inclines. Sometimes and from far away, the glorious sad sound of a lonely fog horn.

In Weston, I have heard great horned owls, hooting softly and then loudly , perhaps having secured one of the 30 million chipmunks that live in my yard. In the spring, the 4 am raucous joy of birds in the not quite dark-not quite light is impossible to sleep through. The spring peepers, the summer cicadas. Can it be so loud that you cannot sleep? Soon the winter silence of the birds will bring the more prominent baying and chattering of coyotes–one of the eeriest of night sounds.

My Sunday gratitude is for night noises–and October’s warm spell that allows open windows.


  • This is a great post. I was just enjoying my coffee and thinking about how nice it is to sleep with windows open (former New Yorker; even in Newburyport couldn’t do this), hearing all of the night sounds. I love the turkeys talking, the owls, even the coyotes. On the wooded Northside we can still hear 128 if the winds blow the right way. That’s one side I can do without.

    • I have to say I have never heard 128 at night. I know what you mean about the winds but I live on the other side of a hill and I have so rarely heard 128, it’s incredible. Maybe it has become background noise—I do hear it this morning, people must be off to hike in the wonderful autumn. Only a matter of time until I hear the leaf blowers as well.

  • #sound

  • Such a nice commentary. We moved from Norwood where we lived near route 1A, we would hear lots of fire engines & police cars. Our first night in Weston after the shock of discovering there were no street lights in our neighborhood wore off we went to sleep w/ our windows open (early September). we heard owls & silence, so wonderful! so peaceful.

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