I was trying to capture what it’s like to take a walk in Sunderland – please let me know if I succeeded.
On one side of the road is a house with a field that stretches back toward another street. It is a simple rancher with white siding and a big bay window on the front that reveals the internal glow of a television set. The yard is outlined with solar lights; some are clear, while others change from red to blue to green, the perfect mood lighting for a garden party of fairies and gnomes. Next to the house are tobacco fields which will eventually blossom with leaves the size of a man’s forearm. The fields are purplish-black and even the white awnings which shade the plants have turned to gray with the coming night.
Across the street are open fields. Beyond them is a main road and even further out are mountains. Traffic travels the furthest road at a steady pace, but its drone is muted by distance. Instead, the loudest sounds are those of the “peepers”, tiny frogs that live in the swampy fallow fields and never grow to more than a couple of inches long. They are invisible but their song is everywhere at dusk – a country summer evening is anything but quiet.
Further along the road, a power transformer buzzes overhead, the only intrusion of humanity upon the evening. Even further still are other houses. Their back-lit windows are the only detail that can be made out at a distance. Street lights cast down their orange souls and power lines sway gently in the breeze. Leaves rustle, and from the woods comes the footfall of nocturnal creatures, hunters stalking at dusk’s reverse of time. The fields bend around a curve in the road. The road disappears into darkness.
Nature’s nocturne sounds.
The countryside lives.