Note: The recording featured above is a “3D binaural soundscape”. Please wear headphones for a profound listening experience that will make you think you’re actually out there, immersed in the natural world!
I always strive to keep my ears well-tuned, in order to perceive uplifting soundscapes that might easily escape notice, but sometimes I am not quite up to the task. Such was the case in late July of 2018.
I met up with two recording friends at one of my favorite wild areas … Shindagin Hollow in upstate New York, near where I live. We were very glad to see one another and immediately began chatting about this and that as we hooked up our recording equipment (they with parabolic reflectors and me with my binaural soundscape microphone). Then we dispersed, heading into the forest in different directions, each hoping to capture something of value.
It was then that I paused for a moment just to take in the scene … a foggy misty morning following a rainy night … the deep forest of hemlocks and hardwoods … drip from leaves in all directions … and subtle bird songs. I took a long slow breath and began to amble down the trail. At that moment, a wood thrush caught my attention, singing in the distance though quite clear. I stopped and listened more attentively … another was sounding off from even farther away, and a very faint one as well, unless I was just imagining it. And did I just hear a hermit thrush, buried in the mix?
Oh my, I almost did not notice … there, right next to the road, a lone ground cricket trilling prominently from the gravel. How could I have missed such an obvious sound? And then I detected a barred owl, hooting way off in the distance. And a mourning dove, just audible, cooing softly time and again.
Suddenly, I shook myself awake, finally aware of the miracle before me! The magic I was hoping to find somewhere down the trail was actually right next to me, fully and elegantly expressed! I did not need to walk down the trail in search of anything because nature was already showering me with an exalted mix, an elixir so pure and powerful that it thrilled my entire being, but only after I became fully receptive to it. Had I kept walking, I would have missed it entirely. Thank you wood thrush for breaking the spell of my self absorption, for unplugging my ears and inviting me into the here and now!
So finally I jumped into action … I quickly set up my soundscape mic, hit record, and prayed that nothing would interrupt this amazing concert so freely given. How careful we must be to keep our minds calm and quiet and our senses free of interference, so that we do not miss the extraordinary beauty that nature showers upon us, sometimes subtly, and often when we least expect it to arrive.
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Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Thanks so much.
Oh how I love the wood thrush and sadly they are becoming so rare. Such a beautiful chorus and I love your description of the setting as well.
I closed my eyes and pretended I was walking in the woods. 🙂
I love listening to them any chance I get. thank-you
Lovely thrush medley, & the drip sets the scene perfectly. I’m glad you managed to snap yourself back into the moment & capture this for us all!
Oh boy, this takes me right back to summer. Many summers, in fact. I love summer morning bird song, and the Thrushes are one of my favorites. It’s beautiful. Thank you, Lang, for sharing this.
Thank you for this transporting concert! Wonderful! This summer we heard more thrushes singing in the woods near our house in Greenfield, MA than in the past. And in the middle of the day too which was most unusual. Or maybe we were just tuning in more to these beautiful singers.
Maybe both … more thrushes and more tuning … which would be an excellent explanation if true. I know for a fact that there are still tons of thrushes in Shindagin Hollow, even though broader population studies show clear declines.
Lovely lovely lovely!!! Thank you so much!
My brother lives near Shindagin and loves it, but I’ve not been there. Some day . . .
It is definitely a beautiful wild area and I am quite fortunate that it is nearby. I’ve gathered hundreds of recordings there through the years, dating as far back as 1988.
It is so wonderful to be immersed in the natural world, at least by sound and imagination. Thank you!
“Imagination” is all-important here. The recording itself is transportive, but the story is also important to set the scene, both exterior and interior. And the photo also plays an important role. I consider blog posts to be a kind of art form, a canvas so to speak, upon which a listening experience is painted using sound, word and image.
This recording in your email has made my day so much better. Thank you again.
You’re welcome Janice!
I would be hard pressed to find another environment that could exemplify the peacefulness of an eastern woodlands. I am lucky enough to have this out my back door and will go sit quietly at times just to ponder the universe. Thanks!
I too agree that eastern woodlands embody a particular flavor of “gentle peacefulness,” at least in part due to the rich variety of bird songs.
That is gorgeous. The cricket just makes it perfect. Top marks for noticing how that place sounded. Thank you
Glad to hear you like the cricket! I think it’s an Allard’s Ground Cricket, and it was the first ground cricket I had heard singing that season (adults mature toward the end of July).
Such an amazing delight to fill the senses and heart!…and inspire me to find MORE such experiences in my own daily life, bringing full appreciation to “ordinary” nature connection moments! Thank you so much for bringing these aural (and then some) experiences to us! Thrushes and dollopy rain are a great gift.
Of course, Thrush Dripscape is not exactly “ordinary” … it actually conveys a special combination of elements. The drip is, perhaps, rather ordinary and generic, but the constellation of thrushes certainly is not.
To me this is the most beautiful, mesmerizing music! I felt so relaxed while listening. The flute and trill of the Wood thrush is my absolute favorite bird song. And together with the sound of the rain drops from the trees, perfection!
I do agree that the mix is a kind of “perfection,” at least in terms of human appreciation, coupled with my desire to capture soundscapes that transport us and relax our minds. My work is definitely human-centric, at least in a sense. I “choose” to record soundscapes based on their perceived effect on the human psyche, which is greatly influenced by my own personal likes and dislikes.
How true! We often miss so much because we are looking for something beyond and fail to pay attention to what is right where we are. Even in apparently “boring” surroundings, there are little discoveries of blessing to be made.
In this case, the problem was in my mind … the noise in my mind (mostly due to chatting with others) prevented me from fully listening in the moment. A short walk down the trail alone and I most likely would have quieted down and began listening more deeply. It is fortunate that the thrush captured my attention before I left the scene.
Yes, good point. We need at times to just be quiet, alone (or even with someone else), so we can really hear and see and respond to our environment.
Missing rain here now, and so especially loved the full sound–calling it in here in the pacific northwest.
Thanks Lang, delightful ruckus!
Love it as usual, ditto all the comments below. I am making a plea that you make a lot of recordings with no water flowing, lapping, dripping etc.
I guess I am a water fanatic, but I’ll do my best …
Actually, I already have a lot of them in my collection, though quite a number have a species focus. Here’s one you might like:
And how about this one:
Or this one:
I really enjoyed the duets between the two thrush species!
So could you easily distinguish the hermit from the woods?
A spellbinding recording. I’m sure you won’t remember this, but you were my mentor for a home study course in bird photography through through the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology many decades ago. I’m still at it, trying to capture images of these beautiful creatures. It never gets old.
I do remember a Gary Shackelford from way back when! That was a long, long time ago for sure. Glad to have you on board again Gary!
Beautiful recording. Thanks for sharing. And I must add, your well written descriptions are absolutely spellbinding. You need to write a book on your travels! You have a very rare knack for making the reader feel you are there alongside you in the forest as you describe it!
Thank you John! I do envision writing a book having to do with the aesthetics and appreciation of soundscapes, along with recording and sharing via the “binaural” platform. The book will be loaded with QR codes pointing to soundscape recordings.
But when will I find the time to actually do the writing and organize all the recordings? Uh … well hopefully well before my next reincarnation!
So lovely! And the photo makes me long live back east again. California does not have the same green that I find in NY or NJ. California may be my birth state, but the Eastern Seaboard owns my soul.
I think I shall play this again, as I fall asleep tonight. Let’s see what dreams may come, enticed by thrushes and that owl inserting itself now and then, plus that gentle rain…
The backstory of this recording is as grand as the music itself! Thank you Lang!
You’re welcome Carol-T! Had I walked into the forest without stopping and listening, I would have missed this opportunity entirely. Sure, I may have gotten the drip at a different location, even decorated with bird songs, but no doubt lacking the pleasant mix of ethereal thrush songs that I find so uplifting.
They say it always rains twice in the forest. Firstly the rain falls from the clouds onto the trees. Then, once the rain has stopped falling from the sky, a second “forest rain” falls from the canopy to the ground. This second rain is always more gentle, a softer less aggressive sound. So well captured in this recording with the beautiful accompanying birdsong. Simply wonderful.
Thank you Colin. I love your description of the “second rain.” When I finally get around to writing a book about my soundscape, I’ll be sure to quote you in this regard, with your permission of course!
Honest, I had not read this reply when I commented about your future book!
Wood thrush is one of my favorite birdsongs – and love the sound of the rain. A real winner!
: >) And you’re listening with headphones, I presume??
Love this. It does feel like being there. This would be great to play during the winter months.
Yup! Even now I find it hugely relaxing. I listened to it almost non-stop for maybe three hours as I put together this post.
One of your best, Lang.
I do believe it to be one of my best. I am so grateful the thrushes kept their distance, which I think adds to the overall effect.
Oh wow, I just love this! Thank you for sharing. Any chance we could access it through “Pure Nature?” I use that app all the time for my commute to work, and for general ambience at home.
Might add it at some point, but it’s only 15 minutes long and right now we’re focusing adding long-form soundscapes at a rate of one per month … those will all be 50+ minutes in length.
Sounds great: thank you! I will look forward to those. I loved the Moose River Plains.