I am sitting outside in my parents’ backyard, preparing to write.
The temperature is perfect. Warm enough to be outside but not yet too hot. I settle into the stillness, noticing my surroundings. Listening.
The water flowing down the stone waterfall.
The leaves brushing of the leaves as they swing in the breeze.
The birds chirping.
These are the sounds of early morning in the suburbs. If I didn’t listen for them, they would fade into the background.
This moment of peace and tranquility was interrupted by conversation. My dad came outside.
The conversation pierced my stillness. In a different moment, I would have happily engaged in his delight about the new pool railing that he loves. In that moment, I wanted to write. I was sitting in a different energetic space. I was in my sacred container for deep work.
It occurred to me that this is the difference between sound and noise: energy.
Noise is any sound that doesn’t align with our current energy state.
If you’re a parent, you wait eagerly for your child to say “mama” or “dada.” When your child is whining and crying “momeeeee” for what feels like hours, you aren’t so welcome to it.
The first is sound. The second is noise.
Noise interruts. It pierces. It drowns out the sound you want to hear.
In the noise of conversation, I couldn’t hear the birds. The waterfall faded away.
What is the difference between sound and noise?
The dictionary says this:
- vibrations that travel through the air or another medium and can be heard when they reach a person’s or animal’s ear.
- sound produced by continuous and regular vibrations, as opposed to noise.
- sound, especially of a loud, harsh, or confused kind
- an electric disturbance in a communications system that interferes with or prevents reception of a signal or of information
- extraneous, irrelevant, or meaningless facts, information, statistics, etc.
- Rumor or gossip, especially slander