Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bang On

There's an article in today's Halifax paper about things that go bang in the night. Apparently, city people don't know what causes those bangs.
Someone actually thought a plane had a crashed. Some believed the sound was an explosion. Others woke up thinking their roofs were collapsing.
Now, being a city person myself, I don't like to denigrate those folk too much but I've lived in the country long enough to pick up a little knowledge; mostly from posing endless questions to the Nova Scotia country boy, questions like, "What the hell was that?"
Which is exactly what those city folk were asking Tuesday night.
As if they've never experienced a cold snap before. Are they new to Halifax? New to Nova Scotia? New to Canada? Where cold happens. Obviously they weren't around last winter because the exact same thing happened last year during a cold snap. Things when bang in the night.
There are bangs called "frost quakes" that come from the ground, I understand, and are seismic; they will be heard by a whole bunch of people but an expert at the Geological Society says no seismic activity was registered in Halifax. In all likelihood, because we had them, too, way out here in Cumberland County, these bangs -- the ones we hear when we're sitting in the living room or lying in bed -- came from a house's building materials contracting in the cold.
Cold, people. It happens. Every year. We went from reasonably cold temperatures to bloody freakin' freezing temperatures overnight. Bang! We object and our houses and decks object. It's disconcerting, sure, but no reason to call the police (as one Halifax resident did).
So all I can say about an almost-half page article in the newspaper, in which seven people were interviewed about saying "What the hell was that?", is that this is another example of what happens when you live in a city surrounded by concrete and asphalt, and building after building after building. Or more specifically, when you don't live in Nature surrounded by fields and woods and rivers. You lose touch, you forget who is truly in charge, you think food is grown at the grocery store. Not recognizing those bangs, not coping with snow and ice, not cleaning your roof off before rain and freeze arrive has to be a symptom of the disconnect that happens when you don't live in the country.
Although I have to say, the answers people came up with for "What the hell was that?" were pretty interesting but also a reflection of living in the city. One man thought it was a plane exploding, another man said it sounded like the Halifax Explosion (a truly unique local reaction), while others thought it was someone breaking into their house.
In the country, we don't get as excited as that. We're rather "Ockham's Razor" that way: The simplest answer is usually the correct one. A deck contracting, a flue fire, a bear in the garbage -- all simple things that go bang in the night.

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