I am writing while listening to drilling and hammering overhead. There is so much noise around us. Someone was using a leaf blower across the street and the garbage trucks are coming around today. Cars and trucks are passing. Roaring, clattering, banging - so many things make noise.
There are smaller sounds throughout my house. The computer hums, the furnace whooshes. Clocks tick. The refrigerator makes many strange sounds.
When all these mechanical sounds stop, the silence breaks in. It is not an absolute silence - I have heard that when exploring caves back east. This silence still has bird cries, wind sounds, trees rustling, gentle creaking of the house itself. These are comfortable sounds, gentle on the ears.
Once I took a five-day backpacking trip. Except for the planes flying overhead, there were few sounds besides those of the mountains - wind, water, birds, trees. When we returned to the trailhead beside a highway, the sound of the cars and trucks seemed very loud. My ears had adjusted to the quieter sounds of nature. Now we only do car-camping. It is harder to get away from machinery in a car, but there are still times of quietness. I like to sit by a lake watching the sunset, or walk in ancient forest where quietness lies like a blanket.