Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Explore Outdoors ~Sit and Listen

 A few times a year I like to just sit and listen to the world around me. My backyard stretches up to a hayfield, so I am usually surrounded by the sounds of nature. But town is less than three miles away as the crow flies, so sometimes I hear sounds from the village: dogs barking, people talking in their backyards.

A couple weeks ago I slogged up the snowy logging road. Half-way to the field, I stopped to listen. I spent five minutes just listening to the sounds surrounding me. This is what I heard: 

wind rattling dried leaves
 a chickadee singing
crows  calling
something - maybe a snowblower - down in town
 If I had stayed longer, I might have heard more sounds.
To record my observations, I made a sound map - a trick I picked up during a Highlights Foundation workshop on Science & Nature Writing.

I cut a cereal box to make a stiff sound map that I could write on outdoors. Then I drew myself at the middle, and an arrow to show what direction the sounds were. I can see now that I should have drawn the nearby sounds (leaves) closer to me, leaving the edge for distant sounds.  
There is something else I should have added to my sound map. Can you tell what I forgot? If you guessed the date, you are right!
How to make your own sound map:
  • Cut a circle from a cardboard box
  • take a sharp pencil with you
  • go somewhere and sit (or if it's very snowy, stand) for at least 5 minutes
  • draw yourself at the center and note direction you are facing
  • write the date, time of day, and location
  • listen
  • note down what you hear and from which direction. closer sounds should be closer to you on the map, with distant sounds farther away.  
 Can you do a sound map in the city? YES! Include sounds from nature as well as human made sounds, machinery sounds, and music.

1 comment:

  1. It must be nice to be far enough away from others to be able to hear all those lovely nature sounds. Nice project idea. Enjoy!