Noticing this makes me compare my urban and island sounds further, and I am surprised to find so much overlap, with differences not so much in type but in degree.
For example, I hear traffic in both places, but in Whitby it’s the occasional car out on the main road or a rumble up Hollywood Beach Road, while in Richmond there’s a steady whoosh on I-95 punctuated with closer passings just outside my building.
City sirens are frequent and varied: police, fire, ambulance, car alarms. On North, there’s only the occasional whine of the (singular) ambulance.
Likewise, the beat of ‘copter blades is steadier in the city than from the less-frequent passing of a Coast Guard patrol over the island.
I hear birds in both places, just different types. Canada goose and flamingo calls are remarkably similar! If I were a birder I might detect more differences, but to my untrained ear, only the “gobble” of the Cuban crow stands out as island-unique.
There are sounds of other people—their conversations, laughter and music—in both places, although live singing is more common to hear on the island, and angry voices more common in the city.
I hear the presence of churches in both places, but differently: bells in the city, wafting gospel songs and amplified sermons across the island.
The dog serenades on North Caicos—hearty crescendos of barks and howls—become, in the city, only an occasional altercation between people-walkers or the lonely complaint of a new puppy left alone in someone’s apartment.
Are any sounds either urban-unique or island-isolated? Well, yes. There are certain transportation sounds I hear only in the city: trains, garbage trucks and skateboards. But in the city I never hear certain sounds that my soul needs: wind through palm fronds and, above all, the ocean.
Ah, soundwaves. One of the reasons the island keeps drawing me back.