But across the large expanse of back yard, there are private homes. And last night after 11:00pm, I was awakened by voices coming from somewhere outside. At first, I thought it was someone arriving after being out on a Saturday night, but when I looked outside I could see through the trees that the neighbors two houses down had started a bonfire and were apparently going to be there for some time. I was right: by midnight the guitar music got louder and the voices morphed into raucous shouts as people became more and more inebriated as they sang. There couldn't have been more than five or six people, but the noise was impossible to ignore. I closed the windows and got some relief.
Every few hours I would wake and realize that it was warm in the bedroom and would tentatively open the window again. Still going strong at 2:00am when I finally gave up. It wasn't until around 4:00am that I opened the window to blissful silence. These are the same people who just a week ago woke us by mowing their lawn before 7:00am on a Saturday. They must work a regular schedule and try to cram everything into the weekend, with little consideration that other people might be sleeping.
We have been here in this same apartment for three full summers, and this is the first time I've experienced this from these neighbors, so I am hopeful this will not be a regular Saturday night event. After all, the world is truly becoming more and more crowded every single day, and we all need to be more considerate of our surrounding neighbors. There's little to be done about a party in a private back yard around a bonfire, but I couldn't help but think of all the other people who would be bothered by that noise as well.
We live in a rented apartment and could move away if necessary, but what about the people who own their own homes and live right next door? One of my blogging friends lives in Vancouver, B.C. and owns a condo, and she deals with a fraternity that moved in right next door. She complains but cannot do anything much about the constant noise on the weekends. So I count my blessings and hopefully tomorrow night I'll be able to make up my sleep deficit as the revelers return to work. What gets me, though, is that in a world with so many people, this problem will only become worse as time goes on. There will be no safe quiet places left except in the wilderness. We humans are populating the planet to the detriment of most other species.
When I was a young girl, I remember reading about the population explosion and how many people would be living in the world by the turn of the century. Well, that was fifteen years ago now, and the exponential growth of the world population really boggles my mind. In 1960, the world population was 3 billion people, and as of 2012, it reached 7 billion. Seven billion people! No wonder we have such problems getting along in our own little corner of the world. I forget sometimes that there are fewer and fewer places to get away from it all, since I'm blessed with the ability to drive to vast expanses of wilderness every week. My town of Bellingham has somewhere around 75,000 people at the present time, but like everywhere else, it's expected to continue to grow in size. Well, all those people have to live somewhere, I tell myself.
This is a very beautiful part of the country, and we are incredibly fortunate to have not only plenty of fresh water to drink but also varied abundant food choices. There are places in this country that don't even have that, and in crowded countries like India and China, the problem is much, much worse. Economic inequities exacerbate the problem, and even though I live on a fixed income, I have the wherewithal to enjoy whatever restaurant I choose, to buy pricey items now and then, and basically keep my head above water. It makes me feel very fortunate indeed.
My sister and I often think of our mother, who would mention the problems that we would be facing, and that we would be around to see the worst of them, but she wouldn't. And now here I am, older than my mother ever got a chance to be, and realizing that there are blessings to be had in old age, and one of those blessings is that I won't be around to see the world when it reaches 10 billion people (2050). That is about five times more people than there were in the entire world when I was born. No wonder things have changed so much.
Gosh, I didn't mean to get started on this depressing subject. It was those noisy neighbors who got me to thinking about the crowded world we share. I could have written about the beautiful place we hikers visited on Thursday, with waterfalls and bubbling streams, abundant flowers and sunshine. But no, I was still feeling grumpy this morning when I woke from unsettled dreams and interrupted sleep. Today there are only a few things I need to do, one is watering my garden and weeding it a little, before it gets out of hand. And my friend Judy and I will be going to the movies to see Iris, a documentary about a 93-year-old style maven. We'll probably have dinner together afterwards, and I'll come home to my comfortable apartment and catch up on my sleep.
I do hope that you have a wonderful week, filled with love, laughter, and plenty of rest. My window is open and I hear nothing but the occasional bird chirping away on a lovely, sunny morning. My tea is gone (I just took the last sip) and I'm ready to begin my day. Be well until we meet again next week, please.