Noises seem louder than ever

Why do birds begin singing at 3:30 a.m. before there is even the hint of a sunrise?
Why on nights of high humidity are the sounds of the trains amplified?
All of these questions—and even many more—have crossed my mind this past week as I have awakened from a deep sleep.
We don’t have air conditioning in our home and really only see a need for maybe a week a year. Instead, all of the upstairs rooms have large fans to blow air from open windows across the rooms.
It is only in the deep winter months that we don’t have a window at least cracked to bring in fresh air.
Yet in late spring and throughout the summer months, our windows are thrown open and the outside noises flow through our upstairs. And this summer, the noises seem more extensive and louder than ever.
The easy route through Fort Frances is now down Second Street East and all manner of vehicles are using it. One can tell when a logging truck carrying a full 20 cords of wood—bound for either the Norbord mill in Barwick or the Manitou sawmill—is travelling down the street.
The empty dump trucks bouncing along the street heading to the job site shortly after 6:30 a.m. shake and rattle. There are just enough service cuts in the road for the large heavy-laden trucks to bounce just enough to shake our home at its foundations.
I must give those truckers their due. They are on the road just as the day is breaking and there only is a hint of daylight in the sky. They probably are cursing all the construction they face in navigating the streets of Fort Frances.
The town may have posted a truck route through Fort Frances for the construction season, but the truckers quickly have learned that the easiest route through town is the straight shot down Second Street East.
In the winter, when CN whistles a train through Fort Frances, the handles on the drawers of dressers on our second floor rattle. But this summer when those trucks hit those service cuts, the whole house vibrates.
One can hear the sudden braking of a train. It is a loud bang. When the train starts up again, there is a different sound. It sounds like a person whipping a large metal sheet up and down for several seconds as the metallic sheet bends back and forth.
I’ve begun picking up the sounds of various trailers being pulled down the street. Lighter boats on trailers bounce more and are noisier while heavier ones on bunker trailers are less noisy and don’t squeak as much.
Rain will tinkle on the metal chimney. The wind can howl loudly from the northwest and, at times, can drown out all other sounds from the neighborhood.
At 3:30 a.m. lying in bed, your mind gathers and stores the sounds. And if you are sleeping, your mind may hear the noises but leaves you comfortable knowing that they are the usual sounds.
Even the ambulance racing for the corner with sirens blaring doesn’t wake us. Only the sudden new sounds alert us and we wake in a startle.

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