We are under attack by a virus! The news reporting is alarmingly loud, but our world has become much quieter…

At 8 o’clock this morning, Norway closed its border. And both SAS and Norwegian have decided to put most of its fleet of aircraft on the ground until further notice. None of this is in my mind during the morning walk along the little river where we live. The river is full of water now and its sound therefore deafening. As I reached the top of the ridge the river goes more silent and the bird song takes over. Eurasian Siskin, a Common Chaffinch and suddenly a Winter Wren. It is amazing how one of our smallest birds can have such a remarkably strong voice.

It wasn’t until I enjoyed the bird song that I suddenly realized how quiet it was around me. The occasional frequent car traffic through our valley with Norwegians, who are going down to our shopping centres to trade goods at half the price compared to home, has ceased … there is not a car and during two hours of walking only one airplane is heard.

I think most of us are aware of the air pollution that exists around the world, but how many thinks of all sound pollution … If you start with sound recording, then you are immediately enlightened! The sky is so full of aircraft nowadays that it is almost impossible to get a clean atmospheric sound. Something that you do not want to include is always present. The sound of the aircrafts often overlaps, and the rumbling diesel engines from commercial traffic are mixed with car traffic and motorcycles, and chainsaws, and it is astonishing how far out into the wilderness that the happy but enervating melody from the ice cream truck reaches!

However miserable and scary the virus pandemic is, it will be interesting to follow the development in the near future. We get to see a community around us that we haven’t experienced in many decades, if ever. At least, toilet paper stocking should be a fairly new phenomenon.