About two weeks ago, I noticed that the soundscape here in the Northeast is changing. My ears seemed to be calling my eyes liars.
The crocus and hyacinth have not pushed through the still frozen ground. No migratory birds were bouncing around my still-brown lawn. Spring has not shown her face. So I asked Greg Budney, curator of the Macaulay Library at Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology, if I was crazy. Was something really different?
He alerted me to the fact that many year-round residential birds were now going into a song-mode of reclaiming territory. For example, the female cardinals will now be doing their version of the male’s song. (To hear this, click here and type 49063 into the “advanced search” box) He also pointed out that this is exactly why so many birds sing…you don’t have to see ’em to know they’re there!
Sure enough, the chrrrrrring of a red-winged blackbird met me this morning. Later, while walking home from a meeting, I heard the laughing of an American Robin. After stopping my trek to search diligently, I found my first-robin-of-spring perched in a tree announcing his arrival. I can relax now; the earth is really, truly, tipping back toward the sun and warm days are most surely ahead!
What are your ears “showing” you? Ask your kids what they notice is different. It is possible that you have“auditory learners” in your household.
I find it ironic that I discovered my auditory tendencies only when I began to work in the visual medium of writing! In hindsight, my childhood habit of constantly humming, drumming, singing, hooting, and otherwise filling the space with sound should have been a clue. I was the kid that learned almost everything from listening to the teacher, not reading the book.
I approach the world with my ears and that, I think, heightens my awareness of the changing of the seasons. The Spring Equinox approaches and the clues of this dependable, cyclic change range from the buds bursting to the peepers awakening. Close your eyes ask yourself, “what’s that sound?”
[This post was written by Lee Welles.]