We are so often surrounded by urban noise its little wonder we seek out nature to refresh our spirits.
Considering we are looking for a respite from urban sounds as much as the urban environment its strange how much we tend to think of our ‘nature experiences’ primarily in visual terms and relegate sounds to a secondary position.
I have always been conscious of sound, I am one of those that takes great pleasure in the ‘sounds of silence’ preferring the subtle background rustles of life to canned music.
I am perplexed by people who go bush walking and beach combing with their iPods plugged into their ears, and by those who go camping in National Parks with their radio blaring.
As I walked today it was my great pleasure to be accompanied by the constant sound of the ocean quietly rolling in from the west onto the soft sandy beaches and rocky outcrops where I wandered.
When the path meandered over the headland I heard the soft tut tut tut of the kangaroos as I walked past. As I traversed the path behind the sand dunes I walked through groves of trees where I heard the soft twittering of sparrows, the cawling of the currawongs. the trilling notes of the honey eaters feasting on grevillas and the galahs shrieking in the banskia trees as they feed on the cones.
I crossed a grassy area where butterflies danced silently amid long grasses. The hum of insects buzzing floated lazily in the air while in the distance I could hear the first of the summer cicadas. A family of magpies pecked lazily at the grass.
As I rounded the final corner in the bush track I came across a big grey kangaroo, I have seen this one before in the same spot but it has always shied away from the path. Perhapes it was that I was intentionally walking quietly imagining myself to be at one with my surroundings that made it accept my presence. A fairy wren flew down and performed a little song on a branch and the kangaroo tut tut tutted in response.
My heart filled with gratitude, not only for the little bush creatures and their concert that seemed to be performed just for me, but also for being able to hear all these wonderful sounds. To hear sound is a gift most of us take for granted and the sounds of nature are the greatest of them all.
Sound file from the Australian National Botanic Gardens website