As we travel down the technological superhighway of our lives, the world is getting noisier, despite my deep affection for silence. There is a calmness in the air as autumn unfolds with its colored splendor, and leaves quietly twirl to the ground.

But when the branches become bare, the ambiance changes. I hear the roar of leaf blowers being fired up, spewing toxic gasoline and vandalizing autumn’s spirit of quietude. The shrill, ear piercing noise disconnects me from the gentle whisper of the natural sounds in my neighborhood: squirrels and chipmunks scratching through the dry, fallen leaves, and breezes tiptoeing through the trees. With bated breath, I wait for the machine to be turned off.

Today, it is rare to see people using the human caress of their hands to rake and sweep leaves up in a pile. The exercise that raking leaves commands from us would eliminate the need to visit an inside gym that day. It might foster the gift of a conversation with a neighbor or a passer-by, and it leaves the air and ground cleaner. Leaves deserve to go their final rest without pollution and motor noise, which is not in tune with their nature’s flow and grace.

On my walk yesterday, I saw a family with two children on their front lawn. The parents were raking leaves into a pile as the children, with mile-long smiles on their faces, and belly laughs, were jumping in them. It was a sentimental scene that renewed old memories of my siblings and I having the same fun when I grew up in the 1950s and ’60s. I juxtapose that warm scene with seeing a covered pickup truck stop in front of a large apartment complex. Out come six men carrying gas-powered backpack leaf blowers, holding the blowing wands in their hands, like soldiers ready to attack with their guns.

There are many other sources of noise pollution in our daily lives that could be eliminated, but our society seems to fear quiet and think we need constant auditory stimulation. Establishments assume we need background music. For example, most restaurants, hair salons, grocery, furniture and other stores have nonstop piped-in music, whether or not we like the music, or are in the mood to listen.

Then there is the omnipresent noise from television screens, who never stop talking; grabbing our time in many of the common spaces in professional offices we visit. TVs delete the sounds of silence with their every-other-minute commercials, programs and round-the-clock news. Do we need to focus our eyes on a loud box with constant flickering scenes as we wait to be seen by a doctor or dentist? I think it would be more dignifying to sit and listen to the rhythm of my own heartbeat, perhaps have the chance to bond with a stranger or simply have quiet moments with other people sitting in the room.