Cooing doves vs. tooting trains

A reader writes wondering if the doves are really any worse than the trains thundering through town.

Dear Editor,

I can’t resist responding to Barbara Roden’s column about the Eurasian collared doves (“Those flocking doves”, September 1) which have, by some freak of nature, found their way to our geography in recent years. Apparently the cooing of the doves annoys some people.

How strange that is. We have two railroad lines passing through the village, one of which sounds its air horn for five seconds or longer every time it hits Ashcroft. I’ve sat in houses by the railroad, and have not only been made aware of the vibration of the freight trains, but the sound which fills the ears for minutes at a stretch. Do we stop talking then? No, of course not. We just raise our voices a little higher.

Now I’ve been told that, even on the heights of the mesa, the echoes of the freight trains can be heard all day and all night; yet we seem not to hear them. I’ve been told “You get used to them. You don’t hear them anymore.”

Someone suggested that the sounds of the railroads running through our village is a confirming sound. It is a sound that assures us that it is business as usual. As long as the freights are moving, we are able to fill our big box stores like Costco and Walmart. We are able to fill our car lots with new cars. We are able to eat food from almost everywhere on the globe: tangerines from Peru, pineapples from Ecuador.

It is always a source of amazement to me, that the food we eat comes from China, Japan, Thailand, and God knows where. Cars from Japan roll through our village with monotonous regularity.

The cooing of a dove, however, is able to break the sound barrier. We find it annoying. The cooing of a dove, cooing softly; so softly that the deaf among us are not able to hear it. Despite the air horns, despite the thundering power of diesel engines pulling the freights, we hear the cooing of doves, which is annoying. I am mystified.

Esther Darlington



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