This morning, I was up a bit earlier, just after 7am. I will not give you the details why – some things should and will remain private. One of the advantages was that I could ring the baker and order some croissants, which are often sold out by the time I usually arrive at the baker’s store. Another advantage was that I could hear the morning sounds, and hear nature awake. Besides some roosters at the farms nearby (city boys and girls listen here), I heard a lot of birds, a lone donkey, and an even lonelier sheep, that is on the land at the side of my house. Wonderful.
I do wonder how those sounds would sound, though, without distinct cars or low flying airplanes. I know I will have the chance to witness that situation from the balcony of my house one day, when the atmospheric conditions will be perfect to hide the car sounds and have traffic control pick a different landing track.
The cars are driving on a major road about a kilometer away. There was a light morning breeze from the classic Flemish south-western direction. That breeze gently ‘blew’ the sounds from the N462 towards the open farmlands and towards my house. The sound would not wake me up though. It probably does not even get through the windows and walls. But when trying to enjoy a nature wake-up, that is of course not the sound you would love to hear.
The planes are more annoying. Almost the entire Flanders is now in the landing zone of Zaventem airport near Brussels. Some years ago, green fans were applauding the new way of landing. Planes used to fly high until they arrived at a short distance of the airport, and then descended quickly following a relatively steep downhill slide. Some years ago, the green landing was introduced. Now, planes from the US already start descending somewhere after London (UK). The gliding down towards the landing strip is now much more gradual. This landing is called ‘green landing’ since it saves fuel. That is great of course. But the downside is that it also increases the sound impact on a much bigger scale. The entire zone from the Belgian coast onwards to Brussels, is now impacted by the sound of the arriving planes – depending on how the planes are told to land. The sound impact is not as heavy as what the nearby habitants of the airport endure, but still, the effect can be heard clearly, and it does get into the house and is loud enough to wake you. Whether they fly above our house, depends on the choices of landing strips made by air traffic control and the coordination of Zaventem airport. Those choices are influenced by weather, so that is why the background sound level is a function of weather for more than one reason.