The Magic In The Receiver – A Kefalonia Novel

Where Have All The Songbirds Gone?

Where Have All The Songbirds Gone?

By on Apr 11, 2011 in Blog | 0 comments

Where have all the songbirds gone?

Scientists at the University of Sheffield, England, say the din of lawn mowers, leaf blowers and other machines could be the cause. Maybe leaf blowers will eventually make writers extinct too.

Remember the halcyon days when sitting in the garden listening to the birdsong was a joyful pastime. Well, today, maybe less so. It seems like there’s never a time when gardening crews aren’t within earshot. Perhaps, we can come up with a mobile app coordinating their visits, then we could have leaf blower Monday’s on Mayfield Avenue or Strimmer Tuesday’s on Montana; the rest of the week could be reserved for silence.

A funny thing happened on the way to finishing my novel. At some point, leaf blowers morphed from thought-killer to wellspring of inspiration. Succumbing to writer’s block wasn’t an option, neither was cutting off an ear like Van Gogh, but who would have thought noise could bring a revelation. No longer was silence necessary to complete that tricky paragraph, on the contrary, the leaf blower became indispensable and the muse for my best work.

When dread silence descended, I’d whip out a headset and my pre-recorded leaf blower MP3s and press on. This certainly helped, but it just wasn’t the same without the dust and exhaust fumes pouring in through my open windows. To make matters worse, my building doesn’t use any power garden tools. I offered to buy the yard guy a leaf blower, even thought of hiring my own man to stand outside my window blowing imaginary leaves into the street but the building manager wouldn’t hear of it.

Back to the birds. As soon as the leaf blowing stops, the crows in the tree outside squawk and squabble. I’m not sure if they’re cheering or pleading for the leaf blower’s return, maybe it’s the only chance they get to talk to each other.

The City of Los Angeles banned leaf blowers as long ago as the last century, but thanks to courageous gardeners, defying the law, risking their freedom to operate their HARLEY DAVIDSON-LOUD gizmos, writers and telecommuters needn’t fear peace and quiet.

Who needs the songbirds, we can’t hear them anyway.

Inspired by an article in the Guadalajara Reporter

If, for some reason, leaf blowers don’t inspire you and you’d like more songbirds, the number to report illegal leaf blower use in Los Angeles is (800) 996-2489, hit option 1


Paul Dillon is a British author living in Los Angeles, California. His first novel, THE MAGIC IN THE RECEIVER, was published in July 2012.


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