Sounds of Place

Posted on 05/03/2004 in misc

I haven't contributed to Ecotone in a few months. I blame this all on Fred. He hasn't been writing Ecotones either, and the only time I ever think about it is when he posts his first.

This week's subject is Sounds of Place. As is my habit, I write these based on the first thought that comes to mind. I read "sounds of place", and I immediately thought "military jet aircraft."

I'm an Air Force brat. The sound of an USAF fighter plane streaking low overhead is about the most comforting sound I can imagine. This must relate back to growing up on USAF bases where the sound was just part of the everyday fabric of life. A few specific remembrances that come to mind...

Playing baseball in the field at the end of our block on Grissom AFB, IN and hearing the "crack" as jets broke the sound barrier overhead. This was 1976ish so I'm going to guess they were F-101's? Another specific instance in 1997, we are on Shell Island just across the bay from Tyndall AFB. F-16's start practicing touch and go takeoffs on the runway not more than a mile or so across the water, and they roar directly over our heads at very low altitude. It was a parade of jets, so loud the ground shook, so low you could almost feel the exhaust. I was enthralled, as was my then 3 year old son. I also remember running to the window in our condo every time I heard a jet that whole week.

That sound just makes me happy. I can't really explain it any other way.

Our current home sits directly between the Quantico Marine Base and Fort AP Hill. We don't get many jets, but the low flying squadrons of military helicopters are a suitable substitute. And yes, I race to the window or out on the deck for a look anytime I hear them coming. My son is usually already there.