Friday, December 18, 2009

Sleep Machines

The weather in Charlotte right now reminds me of my hometown. It's like this during the winter in Exeter, CA. It's wet and cold and all the leaves are gone. Last night I laid in bed trying to fall asleep and let my mind wander off a bit. I thought about California and places I've traveled within the state, either on family vacations or on tour playing music. As I watched the ceiling I realized that this particular night in Charlotte seemed too quiet. There was a sound that was missing. Wind machines!!! I couldn't hear wind machines. I had grown up right next to a sprawling orange grove in Exeter. And when the winter nights got too cold, the farmers would switch on the tall wind machines to help circulate air through the rows of trees to keep them warm and to keep the fruit from freezing. The machines sounded like helicopters in the distance and my family and I would fall asleep to the beating hum of the propellers. That's what I missed last night, the sound of wind machines.

There are digital alarm clock-type devices that will also emit static sounds of white noise to help people sleep. I had one that played different sounds--a babbling brook, gentle ocean waves, white noise and forest sounds complete with an owl hooting in the background. I never did use any of these effects, though. When I lived in San Diego I could hear the constant sound of the freeway in the distance. And now here in Charlotte, it's completely quiet and still in our house which, most of the time, is just great. But for me, this time of the year needs a wind machine or two in the background. Maybe I could get my folks to record them for me and send me a copy to play while I sleep in North Carolina.

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