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Posts Tagged ‘Puget Sound’

Earlier, I waxed a little poetic about crickets and our lack of them here in Seattle. Anyone who’s read my novels might remember that crickets show up pretty regularly, there, and they will always be, for me, a comforting, blanket sound. “Blanket” sounds (in KRAG-speak) are sounds that fill the night air, but stay in the background; you don’t notice them until they’re gone. There are many other sounds that I find especially comforting and that, even when they wake me up in the middle of the night, immediately settle me back to sleep.

Foghorns are a big one. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where fog is a fact of life. Here, around the Puget Sound, it is similar. If you live anywhere near the shoreline, you quickly learn whence across the night water you can expect to see the blinking eye of a beacon and hear the comforting hoot of the horns. Foghorns ask their low, gentle questions across the Sound: Are you there? Can you hear me? Are you safe?

Trains, from a distance, evoke a similar mood. When we lived in Richmond Beach, closer to the shore, the coastline trains would sound their horns as they neared town. I always smile at their forlorn, two-toned call.

My favorite “blanket” sound, though, is one I’ve only experienced a few times in my life. Almost 30 years ago, my wife and I stayed in Anchor Bay, a small coastal town in Northern California. We stayed in a small cabin up on a bluff, overlooking the Pacific and a small rocky islet. On the shingled shore of that rock lay hundreds of seals, and they would bark all day and all night, their calls mixing with the rush of the surf to create a foundation of sound that waxed and waned with the strength of the ocean breeze. It took us two nights to become accustomed to this constant noise, but once we did, sleep was deep and satisfying.

I’m sure there are other sounds others find as relaxing as these. I would be interested in what your “blanket” sounds are…

k

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