Do you ever take evening moments to just soak in the sounds of nature? Depending on your climate, it can be challenging to spend summer days outside. Scorching sun and soaring heat indexes limit that experience. But summer evenings are accessible to almost everyone–from city balconies to farmhouse porches, the sparkles and sounds of summer come out at night.
I’m particularly fond of listening to the background music of cicadas, a chorus that can grow loud enough to dominate the summer soundscape. When grasshoppers and tweeting birds join in that choir, it becomes majestic. I also love listening to kids splashing in water, food sizzling on the grill, and campfires crackling in the night air. What are some of your favorite sounds of summer?
The sounds this summer may feel different from years past. In many parts of the country, the roadways are quieter. Less honking and engine revving makes way for the softer sounds of foot traffic and bicycle pedaling. This New York Times article reveals that the pandemic may alter traffic patterns for good, giving cities an opportunity to design more equitable, sustainable transportation options. Maybe softer traffic sounds are here to stay.
Other sounds may be different in coming months. For instance, school bells. Will your children hear them? Will you? We’re all in different places with different policies, but for many of us, the absence of school bells will impact our lives. Yes, the lack of sound is sometimes as stressful as the cacophony. What sounds have you missed in these different days?
Maybe you’re feeling nostalgic for the pre-pandemic days. The “normal” days. What does nostalgia sound like to you? According to the Reverend James Wood, a Scottish minister in the early 1900s, nostalgia sounded like a ranz des vaches, a traditional tune to call cattle played on the alpine horn. Wood said that the tune “when played in foreign lands, produces on a Swiss an almost irrepressible yearning for home.”
Hear this powerful ranz des vaches tune in Rossini’s William Tell. Or listen to Swiss alphorns play it here. I’m excited to reveal that Swiss alphorns provide the soundscape for our first Be Ready Explorers adventure! The Explorers and I have been packing their bags for travel and dreaming of what they’ll explore. Join us to learn about new people and places while we work through familiar and challenging emotions. Learn more here.
After adventure, there’s no place like home. What is your ranz des vaches, the tune that calls you home? For Thoreau, it was the sound of nature, “So there is something in the music of the cow bell, something sweeter and more nutritious, than in the milk which the farmers drink. This thrush’s song is a ranz des vaches to me.”
Hoping you find a sweet and nourishing summer soundscape!
Listening with you,