We don’t realise how noisy the world is until it stops.
On the afternoon of Christmas Eve in my part of France everyone leaves work and heads for home to prepare dinner and to then to eat with their family. The cars are silent in the garages; the tractors are quiet in the barns; the chainsaws are stilled in the forest; the planes overhead are gone and even my crazy neighbour with the leaf blower is wonderfully, miraculously quiet.
And then the quiet flows back , like silk, like oxygen and all your senses are filled to the brim with it. Deep, ancient and profoundly satisfying the silence washes through you at last.
I realise how many owls there are calling from the forest on the hill. I had imagined there was only one and now I hear three distinct rich calls in the mild air. Stepping out to turn on the lights I hear sharp piercing barks of foxes very close.
On Christmas morning I open the bedroom window to a road utterly devoid of traffic and admire mist curling and dispersing on the forest as two ravens roll over the tree line conversing loudly in their own air.
The day is as quiet of human noise as the night and as I walked in the woods each bird call seemed perfectly delineated and clear. Field fare clucked in the apple orchards, mistle thrushes chattered, jays scolded, magpies gossiped, bull-finches peeped a single note, black wood peckers mewed like buzzards, song thrushes rolled out music and above it all the jubulient winter ravens shout.