Time for a Blog Break because blog breaks are good. The most probable return is January 9, 2021. Best holiday wishes to all in the tradition you chose.
Click the video above for 2 minutes of background waves while reading.
I like walking on the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.
The beach is an easy place to identify. If taken there blindfolded, other senses would make this place easy to identify – especially the sounds. On a bigger scale, the soundscape captures the beach.
The sounds of the beach. How many layers of sounds do I hear as I walk? What if I could magically turn off all the sounds, then bring them back one by one? In what order would they appear?
From the depth of silence, I would first return the sounds of the waves because they are the beach’s heartbeat. Ever-present – always steady – sometimes louder – but the sounds of the sea serve as the conductor of the steady symphony I experience as I walk in this place.
As I stand facing the water and feeling the laps gently caressing my feet, I can hear the tiny bubbles of foam. That air trapped in the water being released into the atmosphere. Maybe that is my transition sound.
Then comes the wind. The wind can greatly vary in its presence through direction and speed. The wind can pass my ears as a roar of a passing train. It can also be a soft whistle – or even the calming sound and the feel of a gentle touch. But wait – the same wind sounds different depending on the direction as I walk.
The next layer would be the birds. As a whole, they are not a noisy lot. The seagulls squawk, but not constantly. The pelicans are stealth as they effortless soar just above the water’s surface. I occasionally hear the tweet of the sanderlings as they fly by.
I do not hear insects or the sand crabs, but it does not mean they do not create sound. Nor do I hear human traffic or construction – but that may be a different soundscape.
I could add the sound of my feet – that steady bass drum that only I hear as I walk – or the splashing with each step as I walk through the passing water.
People would be the next sound. This time of year, the numbers are few. Humanity’s auditory presence is not constant – infrequent would be more accurate. The sounds in peak season would be different from the kids romping, teens playing, and radios blaring.
All these different sounds melded together into one of nature’s symphonies. Think of an orchestra with many instruments – with a conductor trying to isolate sounds while enhancing others by prioritizing and adjusting volumes. All are a balancing act for style.
However, nature has no conductor to lead the way – to balance the sounds. The roar of the sea can drown out other sounds – but sometimes that is for the better – other times not.
A soundscape at home in Ohio would be different than here. Would it be rural or urban? In a meadow or the woods? By day or at night?
Maybe I would start with rustling leaves, then add the gentle waters of a babbling stream. Insects would then buzz, followed by birds chirping. Nightfall would remove the buzzing insects and chirping birds of the day, but replaced by the crickets, followed by the chorus of croaking frogs, then the occasional screeches of owls and the howling of mammals.
No matter where nature’s symphony plays, what if one sound was eliminated? Would you want a concert with missing instruments or a piano concerto with missing keys?
I think about the lyrics in a Nat King Cole song – Mother Nature and Father Time.
Every robin is my brother
They sing their songs to me
The tiny black-eyed daisies
The mighty redwood tree
They’re all my family
Then why do I feel so lonely
Like a king on an empty throne
There’s one thing that’s missing only
A true love to call my own
Won’t you listen mother nature
And listen father time
Please help me to find someone
To fill these arms of mine
Mother nature and father time
Not only do soundscapes differ from place to place, the soundscape of any place differs over time – not only within a day, but also day to day – month to month – season to season. However, there are times when a sound enters that does not belong. Those are signals of change. That’s why we must pay attention.
I wonder how many pictures can a soundscape paint? Thoughts of soundscapes are more complex than I imagined – but thinking about soundscapes is good. After all, I like walking on the beach because it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.
See what other bloggers have posted about soundscapes
- Sounds of Nature (essay)
- Nature, Silence and Quiet (essay)
- Soundscape (essay)
- Soundscape of life (poem)
- Wondering the Hillside (essay, video, photos)
Next Post: TBA – Saturday 9 January 2021 @ 1:00 AM (Eastern US)
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