The Sounds of a Silent World

I wrote the other day about how hard it is to seek out silence in the modern world, but the truth is of course, once you escape the human noise of machines, airplanes, traffic, etc., you discover that the natural world is filled with subtle sounds all its own.

nightsky.jpgIf you’ve never been on a night hike, it’s a great way to discover the sounds of the earth. Get some friends together, grab some flashlights, and head out into the woods on a moonlit, breezy, night. Find a spot where you can hunker down beneath some trees, turn out the lights, and keep quiet for a while. Your eyes will get used to the darkness, your ears will start to tune in to subtle sounds you haven’t heard before. Be patient.

Sounds kind of spooky, but as long as you have friends nearby and you’ve chosen a safe spot, you’ll be fine. Even a backyard would do. When you’re travelling, try to do the same. It’s too easy to breeze past the sights, hurrying to the next destination. Slow down, spend some time, explore. Few of us listen to or look at the world as much as we should.

Living on Earth, a show on National Public Radio, includes a feature on EarthSounds, capturing the subtle sounds of nature that too often get lost in the background noise.

Here’s a few samples:

Water melodies of the suikinkutsu, a clay cistern historically found in rural Japanese gardens.

The call of a raven in the woods.

Poison-dart frogs of Central and South America.