8 Tracks — 80 minutes total
The sound of rain is universally appealing. The pitter-patter of the raindrops is both refreshing and mesmerizing. Who has not drifted into sleep, serenaded by rain’s exquisite lullaby?
Rain Moods features nine tracks that reveal a variety of textures and temperaments. Some include the rumble of distant thunder. Others are sprinkled with bird or frog sounds, or else fortified by the gurgling of brooks. You are sure to be delighted by the variety and entranced by the supreme spaciousness of rain falling all around you.
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It is early May in the Finger Lakes region of upper New York State. A light rain falls and fog envelops the forest. Spring peepers chorus from a nearby pond. Although the woodland is still awash with browns and grays, signs of spring abound, with tree buds swelling and wildflowers pushing upward through the thick layer of dead leaves.
The soundscape is fresh and pleasing. A mourning dove coos softly in the distance and robins warble sweet melodies from the treetops. A black-capped chickadee, perched in the understory, whistles two-note songs. The pond is rather quiet, but soon we hear the nasal ooo-eek, ooo-eek of a female wood duck. Some minutes later, a yellow-bellied sapsucker drums prominently on a hollow tree trunk. And finally, a red-winged blackbird pipes it’s bubbling conk-la-ree from cattails at the pond’s edge.
May 2, 2016 at 6am. Finger Lakes National Forest near Reynoldsville, New York. Recorded by Lang Elliott.
Mammoth Cave Thunderstorm
It is early May in Mammoth Cave National Park in the rolling hills of central Kentucky. Around midnight, a thunderstorm approaches our camp and suddenly jolts us awake with a loud thunderclap. Fortunately, the storm passes without incident … no high winds or torrential rain, and only a few nearby lightning bolts. Feeling secure in our small tent, we soon drift back to sleep, serenaded by a heavenly mix of rain and distant thunder.
May 12, 2000 at midnight. Mammoth Cave National Park in central Kentucky. Recorded by Lang Elliott.
Hemlocks in the Mist
In deep forest, a light misty rain falls upon a stand of hemlock trees interspersed with hardwoods. Countless minuscule raindrops drench the forest floor. Each drop makes little noise but their combined effect is atmospheric … a gentle and soothing rush that spreads out in all directions, cradling us in a soft blanket of sound.
A wood thrush sings prominently from a nearby maple, infusing the soundscape with melody. We also hear the high-pitched weeta-weeta-weeteo of a magnolia warbler and the ringing teacher-teacher-teacher of a distant ovenbird. We cannot help but smile. Time passes and other birds join in. Oh my … faint songs of a blackburnian warbler, the tinkling ramble of a winter wren, and the buzzy zee-zee-soo-soo-zee of a black-throated green warbler! Such music to our ears!
June 21, 2016 at 8:30am. Shindagin Hollow near Brooktondale, New York. Recorded by Lang Elliott.
Everglades Rain Dance
It is early June in Everglades National Park. Saw palmettos crowd the roadside, hiding the vast expanse of sawgrass beyond. It is hot and humid. Dark billowing clouds fill the sky. An afternoon thunderstorm passed through earlier and now a steady but subdued rain falls, with large raindrops splatting loudly against the broad leaves.
Evening unfolds and frogs begin calling from flooded pools. We laugh at the nasal buzzes of narrow-mouthed toads, knowing they are tiny, silly looking amphibians with pointed heads. We also hear the metallic rattling churrs of squirrel treefrogs. And at times, green treefrogs sound off in the distance, their vibrant quanks adding a pleasing backdrop to the medley.
The Everglades in June … such a distinctive mix of sound!
June 1, 1994 at 8 pm. Everglades National Park, Florida. Recorded by Lang Elliott.
Meadow After Rain
It is dawn in late May in a shrubby meadow in the rolling hills of upstate New York. A violent storm passed through in the night and now light rain falls. Numerous gurgling rivulets course through the meadow, draining excess water from the downpour.
As dark clouds recede and blue sky appears, male songbirds of many species burst into song, excitedly proclaiming their territories and filling the meadow and surrounding forest with their music. A ruffed grouse also sounds off, it’s thumping drums periodically erupting from the meadow’s edge. We slowly breathe in the sonic landscape … one of nature’s finest symphonies, pouring forth in this wet meadow at dawn!
The number of songbirds overwhelms us, but we are fairly certain that we hear mourning dove, common yellowthroat, yellow warbler, field sparrow, Baltimore oriole, alder flycatcher, rose-breasted grosbeak, and American crow. We also notice a lone field cricket, trilling softly from the tall grass.
May 26, 2014 at 6am. Overgrown meadow near Caroline, New York. Recorded by Lang Elliott.
Forest Drip & Stream Gurgle
It is early September in the Allegheny Mountains. We are deep in a forested hollow next to a small brook. After a night of periodic downpours, the rain begins to taper. Raindrops and drips from the canopy fall all around us, smacking against the the leaves of trees and shrubs. The sound of the rain commingles with the gentle gurgle of the brook to create a powerfully immersive soundscape, a lovely and intimate expression of place and time.
Near the beginning, black-capped chickadees call excitedly: chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee. Blue jays sound off here and there. The minutes roll by. We relax and listen more deeply. And then a special delight … the high-pitched ramble of a brown creeper … we are surprised to hear one singing this late in the season.
September 4, 2014 at 7am. Allegheny National Forest near Sheffield, Pennsylvania. Recorded by Lang Elliott.
A Sprinkling of Jays
It is mid-October. Gentle rain falls upon the forested hillside in mid-afternoon. The majority of leaves have fallen and nearly all of our native songbirds have migrated southward. Some species, however, remain here year-round … the familiar blue jay is one of them.
There is a jay family in the vicinity. We hear their discordant jay calls and their intimate nasal whines, made while foraging in groups. Happy sounds, we surmise, as we watch the jays explore nooks and crannies in search of food, especially acorns.
After a few minutes, we notice a series of high-pitched peeps … the rain-call of a spring peeper, coming from somewhere in the understory. A minute or so later, another peeper sounds off, and then even more as the minutes roll by. Such a relaxed soundscape, so palpably spacious and soothing. Nature’s healing voice on a rainy autumn day.
October 15, 2017 at 2:30pm. Hammond Hill State Forest near Dryden, New York. Recorded by Lang Elliott.
On a rainy morning in late May, we take shelter beneath a maple tree that angles across a flooded beaver pond at the edge of a marsh. Raindrops fall all around, some making delicate plinks as they splash into the water before me. In the distance we hear the musical ramble of a rose-breasted grosbeak, the songs and calls of red-winged blackbirds (and various other birds), the occasional peeps of a spring peeper, and finally the sweet wavered whistles of an eastern wood-pewee overhead.
Protected from the rain by the dense maple leaves, we fall into a hypnotic trance, until a blackbird lands nearby and pipes his vibrant conk-la-ree.
May 27, 2018 at 8:40am. Shindagin Hollow near Brooktondale, New York. Recorded by Lang Elliott.