Acoustic Ecology
Home News/IssuesCommunityResourcesSoundscapesAbout UsJoin Us



I hug my knees to my chest and close my eyes, listening to the sound of the river. Or the sounds of the river. I try to pick up each contributing harmony, rhythm, and cadence; the slap of water on the canyon wall, the ripple as it washes upon the bank, the steady rush of it downstream.

In college, I had to analyze Bach's St. Matthew's Passion, note after note after note. In so doing, I learned how to focus on the music, to pick up the countermelody being played by two violins, to hear the gentle shift of the orchestra into the minor key. This same skill proves useful in the woods, as I am often confronted with a vast field of sounds: the wind among the trees, the boughs creaking dryly, the chatter of falling rock. Birds hidden in the undulating willows, the endless play of water upon rock and root.

These are subtle differences to be sure, but the human ear, tied as it is to the animal, can learn to sort them out and attribute them to their right makers. We are a product of a diverse environment, if not this one along the Florida River. With practice and time we learn, and the breaking crash of an elk in the trees is not confused with a mule deer's prancing run. Old secrets, these skills that we harbor within us. Old and rusty, but potent, needing only to be honed on the rough wheel of the wild world, in open country, to be keen again. Try their temper.

Andrew J. Kroll, from A Day on the Florida, in the Summer 1997 issue of The Trumpeter (Box 5853, Stn. B, Victoria, BC, Canada, V8R 6S8)

©, 2001 | Privacy Policy | Site Map