August 31, 2010

What Is Missing?

Did you ever wake up before everyone in the house and head outside and just listen?

Ever notice what is missing? It's easy to hear the sounds of 'progress' and 'civilization' - motor vehicles, school buses, airplanes, music drifting from car windows, A/Cs droning. And on summer weekends, it's almost impossible to escape the sound of lawn maintenance - mowers, edgers and Weedeaters.

What's not so evident anymore is the sound of birds; the sound of squirrels skittering across power lines or tree branches - the sound of grass and leaves moving in a breeze. Sounds like this 'natural quiet'.

It's all just too noisy - and the noise is man-made and artificial. It's dissonant and unpleasant.

Now that I've depressed all of you, I want you to visit Click on a dot on the map, and hear what you're missing. Read about what is happening to our land, our animals, our water.

All of this loss, in the name of progress.

The sound of the loon is haunting, and who would know that a koala makes that weird noise?

This project is the work of Maya Lin, the architect/designer/environmental activist who created the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.

She's planned a multi-media, interactive experience to show what we're missing...some of it may be coming to a location near you. Next year, you'll be able to download digital books of images and sounds to your handheld devices (she called them "digital coffee table books").

Check out the site, and check back for updates. Let's act locally and change our behavior...before all the earthly sounds are silenced, and we are left with glass and concrete. 

As for us at the Cleaver Compound, the plan has always been to buy some land and live there, letting most of the ground go back to nature. I'd like a small lawn, near the house, so it would be easier to spot unwanted critters. The Mister would like all of the land to remain uncut (he has an aversion to the lawnmower, methinks).

Listen to the sound of the tall prairie grass on the site...I'd love to be there now.

Lack of employment is keeping us from achieving our goal at the moment...but hopefully we'll get there...and get to hear some silence.


  1. This is why Im glad I live in the middle of nowhere because I still get to enjoy all of the nature sounds

  2. Loved this post! I just wrote about the sounds of fall, and it came from sitting on my deck very early yesterday before the world got up. Thanks for the link to the site. Doing our part here, too!

  3. I have to say, this is fascinating ... though I do hear a lot of crickets and birds and buzzing of bees and wind around these parts.

    I think the Vietnam Memorial was the most affecting memorial I've ever seen. Moved me to tears the first time I visited.

  4. hhhmm. I live in the desert. I cant think of any natural noises I want to hear. Coyotes howling, rabbits screaming, rattlesnakes? Nope, Im good.

    But if I lived somewhere where there were nice creatures it would be nice!

  5. I am right there with you....but I do hear lots of birds around here, and woodpeckers. ALong with the rest of the garbage trucks, cars, etc...

    Going to check out that link now!

  6. Reading this makes me very thankful to live where I hear these sounds every single day...the birds, the squirrels, geese & ducks and owls...I love that I live where I live. Thank you for reminding me to not take these things for granted. :) I hope you and yours do make it out into the country sooner then later!


Thanks for stopping by. I love your comments...I get all warm inside just reading them!