for the longest time, when people talked about the quiet country life, i simply imagined the opposite of new york life: friday nights spent in a comfy chair knitting a cowl by the fire, a view from the kitchen window of land and more land, bird songs cutting through the clean air at the start of the day... cliché things that include slow movements and tame leisure activities were my meanings of "quiet."
it wasn't until recently that i actually considered the true sonic qualities of the places i've lived, and realized a literal meaning behind this whole quiet country life.
new york mornings sounded like the very beginning of mgmt's "kids" paired with the most relentless construction site of a neighboring building. it was loud but energizing. later the subway sounds, and more subway sounds... green peace street people saying hello and asking if i have one moment for the earth, elevator dings, the thwack thwack thwack of street stands making their egg sandwiches, and obviously lots of foot steps. at night after the bars and the shows, you could hopefully hear the glockenspiel man tinkering in lincoln center.
growing up in chicago meant two, maybe three, very distinct sounds: the stars of food network teaching braising techniques and iron chefing in the background of whatever homework or instant messaging i was doing, and then talk radio. always talk radio for my mom, all the time. even now, i associate it with being stuck in traffic on the way to ice skating practice with the hot sun shining down on me. oh it was always one of my less favorite times of the day because i was clearly more ben folds and jean sibelius than roe conn.
here, all of the quiet sounds are amplified. if i don't wake up to the 8am town bell tower playing "america the beautiful," it's my very own alarm accompanying the hum of the fridge and eggboy's frying eggs from all the way down the hall. i can hear myself yawning, i can hear the spoon mixing the tahini into my yogurt. zero traffic equals zero traffic sounds equals a crystal clear garrison keillor and classical m.p.r. (it's the minnesota radio culture that really gets to me, i just can't believe how good it is.) it was here where i realized that eggboy makes chewing sounds.
and when we move out to the farm i plan on abusing the quiet to listen to lorde at her loudest with only the farm cats to annoy.
today on betty crocker, i'm sharing a recipe for risotto that's packed with green vegetables. it begs you to stand at your stove with a glass of wine in hand, listening to the sounds of your dinnertime kitchen.