The Silencing of Industry

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The Silencing of Industry

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The sensory experience that overwhelmed me the most as the United States, and the world, came to an abrupt halt when it was realized that we were in a pandemic virus outbreak was an aural experience—it was the overwhelming silence that came with the world stopping. I live in a heavy industrial town on the Pacific coast Of Washington. While I live about fifty miles from the cities and one hundred miles from Seattle the economy of this area is based around heavy industry and there is constant noise that comes with this. There is a port a mile from my house that is said to be the busiest deep-water port on the northwest coast. At this port soybeans, wheat, oil and lumber are shipped out and German cars built in Mexico are brought in, among other commodities.
In my neighborhood there are four train tracks. The closest one is about five hundred feet from my house, the next three are another three hundred feet further. Those train tracks bring goods into the port like soybeans and wheat from the farm fields west of the Cascade mountains and fuel and oil for the ships and for the operations at the port. The train tracks also ship out the cars that come in from Mexico to car dealerships throughout the Northwest. Across from the four train tracks there are lumber mills. The lumber mills load up chip trucks (trucks that carry sawdust from the sawmills to paper mills) and the chip trucks roll in and out of town on a constant basis. The log trucks also roll through town on a constant basis and the log truck drivers as well as chip truck drivers live in the area and park their trucks at their houses. All of this leads to a very noisy area for such a small population.
This has never bothered me as the only thing that I really miss about living in cities is the noise. This is the reason why the first thing I noticed as the Covid-19 shut down occurred was how much silence there was. No longer were there log trucks and chip trucks rolling through town. No longer was the rumbling and squelch of the train heard in the early morning and the late afternoon throughout the town. No longer were the airhorns and warning sirens heard from the port. It was just pure silence.

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This item was submitted on January 15, 2021 by Richard Agee using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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