I would venture to say the vast majority of us who are so very fortunate to have the gift of sight use this sense the most when it comes to admiring nature. We see beautiful blooms, brilliant leaves, expansive grass fields, gorgeous birds, inviting springs, immense oceans, rare wildlife sightings and much, much more. When we see something quite rare, we grasp for our cameras or cell phones these days in an attempt to capture the sight forever in a still photograph or perhaps a short video. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to hold onto and view a stunning scene over and again. In fact, I grab for my cell phone often to snap pictures to post on this very blog in particular.
Today I wish to speak about another sense we humans possess and use when it comes to enjoying nature – hearing. What brought this blog post to mind was a recent walk I took one morning while at work. I work in a suburban area and had reason to walk over a couple of blocks or so to secure some pastries from a corner bakery for a meeting we were having that day. It was a particularly damp and foggy October morning – not terribly cool, though. As I walked next to a steady stream of traffic, there opened up a long break in the automobiles which allowed me to leisurely walk across the three lane street. Before I entered the bakery, I heard slight popping noises from above. The lack of automobiles and the heavy fog seemed to accentuate the noise. As I looked around, I thought it had suddenly begun to rain, but it had not. I stopped a moment and discovered the noise was the sound of the dense fog landing on the crisp, fall leaves of maple trees overhead. It was a soothing sound, very appropriate for the changing of seasons. This led me to ponder upon the other sounds I am hearing this time of year:
- The pings and bangs of acorns – depending upon their size – as they fall from oak trees onto rooftops, cars, sidewalks and walkways;
- The crackling of dried leaves from deciduous trees blowing in circles at entranceways to homes and buildings as the northern winds (northerners) become more frequent;
- The howling of coyotes and outdoor hound dogs as the nights grow cooler and longer;
- The rustling of berry-gorging birds, such as Cedar Waxwings, as entire flocks descend upon and strip nandinas, yaupons and other hollies of their bounty;
- The squawking of geese in V-formation, flying far overhead and south for the winter; and,
on very still mornings,
- The popping open of mature seed pods, expelling their greatest achievement for our reward next season.
As I write this note, I continue to think of the common, but still beautiful, sights and smells of fall – trees set brilliantly afire with chlorophyll-deprived leaves, mature pumpkins and gourds on the vine or strategically arranged on doorsteps and, of course, the aroma of fresh-mowed hay and fresh-baked cinnamon-laced cakes and pies. Yet, I’m sure if I intently focused on the sounds of nature around me for a few additional days, I’d probably be able to collect many more tones and timbres I subconsciously relate to the fall season.
I encourage you to take a little time to listen to the arrival of fall as well –
Until next time,