December 25, 2014

The Listening Horizon at Dawn

Taken from his recordings of dawn in the Midwest U.S., Gordon Hempton uses this condensed audio to help people practice true listening in wide, open space. Be sure to listen with a pair of headphones or earbuds. You’ll discover quieting sounds you might miss without them. Promise. Download the MP3 and share it with your friends!

Hoh Rain Forest
Sunrise Outside the Hoh (photo by Joshua Bousel)

I use these in my lecture, "Earth Is a Solar-Powered Jukebox," to help people practice true listening — taking it all in rather than just listening for something in particular. The entire dawn chorus only takes a few minutes to go from onset to peak climax and these are sequenced beginning with the far away and sparse vocalizations of owls and songbirds.

Then we begin to build up speed, then rock 'n roll and finally when we simply take in the experience over these many, many square miles, all combined into the whole, it is to my ears music. If you set back, relax, turn the volume down or up (however you prefer) you will hear something greater than any individual sounds, the species and individuals are organizing themselves, finding their places in the jam session. Notice in particular the woodpecker drumming and when it occurs…

From the book "One Square Inch of Silence: One Man's Quest to Preserve Quiet" by Gordon Hempton and John Grossman.

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is founder and vice president of The One Square Inch of Silence Foundation based in Indianola, Washington. His books include, together with John Grossman, One Square Inch of Silence: One Man's Quest to Preserve Quiet. He has produced more than 60 albums of natural soundscapes.