Sounds of the Backyard

In Fairfield the city mellows with the oaks and the gentle hum of inner suburbia.

The whistling chirp of birds mucking around in my backyard scurries about an afternoon as rich dropping-away sun melts and basks rays spilling and bursting over my right cheek. Humble wind sways the draping green trees, flitting the rays of the sky, glittered in warmth. Stalks and branches scrunch and fondle, kissing each other.

On cue, the 5.49 express barges its way into the chaotic symphony en route to Flinders street Station. Bells chime with the beat of a metronome evoking the flashing of duel red lamps and meeting of wooden drawbars. Horn calls yawn and shrill intermittently through the neighbourhood, a wavering ballsy B-flat that lumbers and startles as it swims over the sub-hum textures. Triplets of rumble and clack percuss over wooden girders at the mouth of Station St, an intermittent slicing of steel denoting speed and the due intention of it’s course.

In the distance, the under-roar of peak hour commodores and falcons pulse past Chandler Highway overpass, deep and fast through the main artery to the eastern wing of the city’s sprawl. It is a gentle hum, like the static roar of a far off ocean, each vehicle a passing wave, ebbing in unison down a tried and tested trajectory to each organism’s rightful dwelling.

A phone rings; it reminds me of an old cack olive unit with the handset vertically spread, and dial twists bereft of luxurious modern buttons. Someone picks up and it is silenced. Neighbours next door arrive back home in their car and throttle each other with stern Italian dialect, slamming their doors and ranting. I struggle to translate what they’re saying, whether or not the tone is one of frustration or basic assertion, whether they’re actually having a laugh and joking on each other. Another neighbour in the distance sneezes from pollen rife in the summer ether. The bellowing catharsis reverberates around their tiled interior and booms out from the open back door to my earshot.

The birds now fly in flocks overhead, alone in the sky but for endless baby blue and a couple of smudges of white cloud; setting off for the night to another part of town. When they get there, the sun will have dwindled and the tones of the sky will have changed, and someone, somewhere will be watching them and breathing in and taking note of their shared existence. Breathing in the air in their vicinity and noting the sweet, unique symphony of sound of their own backyard.

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