Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Walk up Brown's Mountain, Charlottesville, Va.

We were doing our walk up Brown’s Mountain, although this time we were walking without talking. It became much easier to get immersed in the sound environment, and I began to listen with enough intent to quiet my thinking to some degree.

We came across a pileated woodpecker, at least we heard it, and after some walking, the trail went by the dead tree it was working on. It fell silent and shifted to another tree until it knew we had continued. As we climbed up the mountain trail, the woodpecker could be heard all the way to the top. Sound is remarkably able to indicate direction, and as the trail twisted upward, the woodpeckers sound gave an immediate indication of our winding upward path.

The tree cover is in full Spring mode, so the sun poked through, sending beams down to the forest floor. It reminded me of theatrical spot lights, the beams illuminating areas of detail on the forest floor. Some of the areas brought me to a halt to take a better look. I ended up taking a photo of a leaf that had some water sitting in it. No clue as to ‘why.’

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John from Taos said...

Great observation on what one can learn by LISTENING to the birds. I've notice that myself. Aborigines have noticed for millennia, good to know we can still catch up!

Ed Deasy said...

Around here there are crickets too. They create a pretty dense field of sound. In the case of the woodpecker, there was only one on the mountain so it was a perfect reference.
Trying to be mentally silent is one thing, but I just fell into it via listening.
The next time I hike that hill, my head will probably vex me by running an advert jingle over and over and etc.