“A soundscape is worth ten thousand pictures.” ~ Bernie Krause
It was almost midnight when the loud cry of a hadeda echoed through the dark sky. How unusual! It got me thinking about nature’s wild sounds. I found this misplaced cry of the hadeda alarming, yet comforting at the same time. It made me long to hear the wild sounds of natural world. I wanted to hear the jackal calling in the night and owls hooting somewhere in the stars the way they do in the bushveld. I wanted to hear the sound of ocean waves crushing on a quiet dark shore and the sound of gusty wind whistling through the forest.
The city sounds are different. Even though I live in a relatively quiet place where there is loads of birdlife, there is always the constant sound of traffic from somewhere in the background. I’ve learnt that sometimes one just has to reach for the quietness beyond the distant hum of traffic and city noises to hear the voice of mystery. When I drop into this deep listening space, the world of man-made sound dissipates and all is still enough for me to hear different things – the breeze passing through the pepper tree leaves, the flutter of wings and the flowers signing to the sky. There are so many beautiful touches of nature to notice and listen to here. I am fortunate to live in a city full of trees, with touches of wild rivers, wetlands and open grass fields here and there. Yet at times like this, I recognise that there is just something special and irreplaceable about the soundscapes of wild places, and I long to be immersed in their healing presence.
So right now, this is what I’m dreaming of.
In reading a bit about wild soundscapes I made an interesting discovered that I want to share. I came across an article about Bernice Krause – The man who listens to animals. It’s so fascinating how much listening to the sound of a place can tell us about natural environment. It’s also interesting how environmental degradation has altered the biophony in certain landscapes. I look forward to getting my hands on Krause’s book to learn more.