Thursday, July 7, 2011

cacophony of place

i sat on the deck the other night, supremely at peace, and realized that my happiness & relaxation were related to a sound, of all things. i was responding to was the soft swish of wind through the trees, through branches and needles and broad leaves.

i started thinking about the sounds i love most -

rain hitting leaves
wind through the trees
the ocean

and realized they are nothing more than the things i am most familiar with, from growing up on the oregon coast. am i simply reacting to the known? apparently, the known provides comfort, a certain sense of familiarity and understanding and belonging.

where we live now, it's usually not windy, and the rain isn't even as reliable as before. still, i sleep with the window open, and my favorite sound here is the birds every morning and day. they start just before sunrise, going crazy in all the trees around us, a cacophony of tweets and twitters and chirps and calls. i don't think i will ever be able to live in a house again that's not surrounded by trees and bushes and the birds that perch there.

i can't identify any of them except the scrub jays, who are lurking around and calling out all day long. it'd be impossible not to know their sound. and the northern flicker, too, is very distinctive, but i don't know it immediately upon hearing - i just know that there's something in it that makes me jump up and grab the binoculars to search for the source, and then when i find it, try my best to implant it in my memory for the next time.

how long will it take before i respond to bird sounds without thinking at all?

i miss the coast.


  1. you may be on to something there. the sounds (and sights) here are so very different. the birds are vastly different (mountain quail, tho hilarious, are also really weird!) and the wind. the relentless wind, with nothing but sagebrush to stop it....
    i'll give it some time but it definitely doesn't feel like home. that said, i loved the sounds around your house too! but...still not "home" -the sounds of home for me are cicadas and katydids and, if hot humid stagnant days in august had a sound then that sound would be home. :)

  2. cicadas! are fantastic. if i had grown up with them, i'd be totally addicted to them. and i know what you mean about the humid days.