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I’ve been laying around a bunch the last couple days, with my eyes shut, but not able to sleep. Being sick sucks in many ways, but it also makes you remember how you “used” to be open to new things and absorb nearly everything.

I haven’t been sleeping much.  Well, much at the right time of the day.  I’ve been sleeping a bunch during the day, on and off, and then not sleeping much at night, on and off.

I’ve been listening a lot.  Not to podcasts on my iPhone, but to the sounds around me.  Laying in a lawn chair in the backyard, I am amazed how many sounds I hear.  I used to know all of these sounds, but they seemed foreign to me for some reason.  I think that is because I don’t listen so well anymore.  I don’t listen to my surroundings like I did when I was a kid.

What surprises me the most, during the day, is that most of the sounds I can hear aren’t those of people, but those of nature.  Off course there are the trash trucks driving by, and then occasional chainsaw, but really the sounds of the wind and nature drown out everything that humans produce.

The sounds I like the most and awes me the most are those of birds.  Spring is pretty much here in Kansas.  It’s been over 70 degrees for over a week and everyone and everything seems to be happy for the winter to be over.

Early in the morning, but really all day, birds are just at it, chirping away.  I was laying in my backyard yesterday and tried to count how many different birds I could hear.  It is really hard differentiating the separate birds when you’re so rusty at it.  Then trying to remember if you’ve already counted that sound before or if it’s a new bird.  I got up to over 10, then realized I’d lost count, so decided to just enjoy the music and forget the math.

Geese are migrating nowadays.  I have a special relationship with geese.  At least I appreciate them and their companionship.  When I was roofing my building a few years ago, nearly all night, they would be flying over constantly.  They were busy going south, as I was busy trying to finish up before the winter caught up with me.   They are migrating back north now, which means warmer weather.  I seem to think they sound just a tad different heading north than when they are going south, but that is probably just me imagining.

At night what I like the most is hearing the trains.  I can hear the trains on the tracks and their whistles.  We don’t leave anywhere close to any train tracks, the closest set, that are used regularly, are at least 4 miles away, but it is so quiet at night, they sound so near.  I like traveling by train.  That is another thing I don’t do so much anymore, that I should.  I imagine where the train is going, what it is hauling,  A good friend of mine from Iowa, Harold, told me once, that he thought it was a good way to judge the economy of a country by the frequency of trains.  I’d never though much about that, but I think he was right.

What I don’t like at night is the sirens.  It seems like there are way too many sirens.  Much too frequent. I’m up, feeling sorry for myself because I’m sick and then all of a sudden a siren.  Then another.  I think, “Man, I’m in a lot better situation than whoever those are heading for. ”  I always wonder if they are ambulance sirens or police.  Either way, it’s not good.

I like watching Bromont listen while I listen.  I know that he knows a thousand times more than I do about our surroundings.  He listens really well, but has smell, which for him, is way better than hearing.   Dogs have us beat in a lot of ways.  I’m never going to be as in touch with my local enviornment as Bromont, but I’m going to try to be more cognizant of my surrounding, using all my senses.

Trudi and Bromont in the backyard having a little moment.

Trudi and Bromont in the backyard having a little moment.

After riding on Wednesday.

After riding on Wednesday.

7 thoughts on “Sounds

  1. El Jabón

    Steve, for a post have you ever considered putting up a bike info post? Like the ones they do on velonews, cyclingnews, etc. where they give you pics, stem length, saddle height, tires, etc.? I think that would be cool.
    Go online for some inspiration. We’d like to know what you ride!

  2. Skippy

    Friday i was Cycling in my summerweight Cycling Clothes west towards Schwaz past icy puddles from the overnight frost , when i heard birds in the trees sounding off . No doubt they were there last year but i had not noticed , or had taken them for granted .

    With 3 roads heading west and then also the farmers sealed track alongside the river Inn , i have several choices to make that twice weekly trip .

    Not having grown up in Austria , i have no idea of what bird life to expect in the area , although i have seen some that remind mee of those in Oz & the UK . Whilst living in the north of Sydney Harbour , 20+ years back , i would be awoken by the Kookaburra sounding off at daybreak .

    With my lack of German Language skills , i doubt i will be buying a book to identify thee birdcalls .

  3. Jan


    You can probably buy an English language guide or the birds of Europe; most of the European birds will be across the area, and not in one country alone, so what’s in Austria is also likely in the UK, etc. Same should hold for birding apps with sounds.

  4. H luce

    If you weren’t sick, I’d say come out to St Charles, MO where I am now, and come out with the hounds hunting. Your awareness switches; intensifies. I can hear and see much better than usual, hear conversations 100 yards away, hear rabbits moving quickly through dried leaves, see birds take off when the rabbit runs up under them, and so on. The area where we’ve hunted for the past 30 years has become developed in the past 3 years or so, and just in the last 3 months a hunt saboteur moved in, this morning, when he’d hear the hounds go off on a run, he’d fire his semi-auto rifle rapidly, as fast as he could pull the trigger… And everyone, hounds and all , ignored him … Even the rabbits. Then he started in with his double barreled shotgun … As it was past noon and we had lunch waiting, got in on the last 10 minutes of that. City people should stay in the damned cities.

  5. Kevin

    Great post Steve! Skippy I too lived in North Sydney and loved being woken by the Kookaburra’s, Cockatoo’s and Ravens. A good friend in Sydney was a keen birdwatcher who had an app that plays local local bird calls. It really helps you figure out which birds you are hearing and attunes you to listening for the subtle differences. A favourite of mine from the Sydney national parks was the Eastern Whip – so much variety there, made the chirps of the UK birds I was used to sound very vanilla.


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