Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sound Tracking in the Forest

We've had a bit of rain.... and mornings 
with magical mists while I sit drinking 
coffee in the moss garden. 

The same brown mossy hill I photographed in an earlier 
post bejeweled after a rainy night. Today it is back 
to brown, but more rain is expected and this 
hill knows how to sing exuberant songs of green
after a good shower. 

Gentle ferns do a lovely dance with the wind, 
swaying back and forth and dipping into the birdbath, 
kissing the stone bird. Not many birds come to this 
little bath, but the chipmunks who live in the stump
behind it drink here in the morning before Pasha 
is out and about. 

I do love balancing stones in stacks around the gardens, 
though they always lose their little top ones when 
those same chipmunks perch there and eat acorns. 

Though we really could use a week of rain, I have 
been enjoying being outside in warm, dry 
weather. Needing to write on the computer 
today, I had the grand idea of setting up outside 
in the moss garden. It has been such a sanctuary 
this summer and mosquito free. Dappled sunshine all day 
and cool with gentle afternoon breezes. 

Strange and wonderful this world of technology, 
that I could bring my computer outside and still 
check email listening to the Baroque iTunes
channel thanks to invisible waves passing through
my router.... wonder if the sound inaudible to me
 is too much for the dragonflies... 

"Storm at Dusk", watercolor 2009

On Sunday evening I was called out by frog songs and
the just past full moon. Sometimes at night, 
in the midst of doing evening things like 
reading or listening to music, I suddenly silence 
the artificial noises and move outside into the
sounds of frogs or owls or coyotes, 
or light rain on the 
metal roof. 

quick forest sketch

Sometimes the forest sounds are just so...
so soothing and wild that I am reminded of 
  the myriad of creatures living here as they 
sing their night songs. Vast spaces
feel measurable when filled with the far-off call 
of a coyote. Last night I could track the 
path of one as it moved around the forest, 
calling, calling as it traveled. A few 
nights before I heard the clattering 
of a branch as something lighted on it. 
A moment later, as I climbed into bed, 
the owl in a tree just eight feet from 
my window began calling to its mate.
So close I could hear slight resonances 
and nuances in her call that would be 
lost at a distance. Off in the forest, 
just at the edge of my hearing, 
a faint response.  

another drawing from my youth, 
"HawK" - age 18 or so

Day sounds in the forest are often quite 
shrill due to the resident ravens. 
If you've never heard them, they are 
amazingly diverse vocalists. Sometimes
sounding like other corvids - crows mostly- 
but a bit more throaty, and other times 
creating a variety of clicks and shrieks 
that find me shaking my head or laughing. 

three night bugs on a branch

As I sit here, a sweet buzzing of crickets fills 
the night, a clear marking of the seasons 
flowing toward late summer. July is frog songs,
August crickets. The buzz invites me to shrink
and travel the spaces between grasses, 
imagining the night view of a bug. 


A mermaid in the attic said...

Beautiful, evocative post, Valerianna. Such joys in the sights and sounds of nature. I have become aware of the fact that, living in the city, I use music not just because I enjoy it, but to block out the constant background noise and try and create a sense of peace and clarity. I think that when we move (and it's pretty much a 'when' now, not an 'if') to the country next year, I will find I'm not listening to anywhere near as much music, because the quiet and beautiful sounds of nature are what I really want to hear.

Valerianna said...

mermaid - wow, great news... moving next year, yipee!
And yes, just as I write here, the music of outside is most intoxicating and transporting... strangely so, but maybe it transports me to presence...

illustration poetry said...

Hello Valerianna, i wish could be in this place!
are there so many moths too?

Valerianna said...

Sympathy... yes, there really are so many moths... I have photos of so many more!

lynda Howells said...

love your art and your imagesxhappy arting as they say!


Sharmon Davidson said...

What a lovely place you live in! While reading your beautiful words, I could picture myself there in the woods, listening to the ravens and coyotes. I really like your watercolors, too- so evocative.

Karen said...

A lovely post.
Your Forest home looks so beautiful. I love listening natures own music. The crickets here have been loud ths year because it's been so dry. :)

Valerianna said...

lynda - thanks for stopping by and happy arting to you as well...

Sharmon - I tried to actually post a video with the raven calling on it, but after an hour of waiting for it to upload, I decided there must be an issue and gave up. I'll try again sometime so you can really hear the sounds here.

Karen - the crickets just started here, but they are something!

MILLY said...

Your forest looks so lovely and surrounded by so much wildlife. I really like your Moth photographs and your flowers.

Michala Gyetvai (Kayla coo) said...

Hello Valerianna,
I love your woods with the light streaming in and your delicate painting.

merci33 said...

A very lovely meander through your ravenwood...from moss garden to fern bed, owl's call to coyote's howl...each images posted and word crafted brings the connection to the beauty that surrounds.

This is the music that I also love here at 'the wren'.

It's always so good to see you over at 'Luna See'.

Anonymous said...

you are a great artist!!

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

a really wonderful journey through
your world...you would guess, but
i love the chairs...
the three night bugs on a branch
thank you

Tammie Lee said...

your world is beautiful, lush and nurturing to see, even in a post.

steven said...

what a lush rich world. i remember lying awake one night on an island listening to a pack of wolves running along the hill line that wrapped around the lake. pure magic. steven

Valerianna said...

Milly- thanks for stopping by... the moths are truly amazing, glad you liked seeing them.

Kayla koo - there is something wonderful about light in the forest.... sometimes I envy people living in meadows, and then I remember that they are usually sweltering this time of year... and don't get the gentle, magical angled beams or dapples of sunlight through branches...

merci33 -nice to have you here, too. Yes... beauty everywhere...

anonymous- Linnea! Thanks!

Grace- yes, chairs, I loved your post on chairs, too!

Tammie Lee- I do feel quite nurtured here... the hemlocks, the mosses, the creatures - all nourish me.

steven- wow, that is an experience on my list. We have been hearing a lone wolf now and again around here. People have started reporting seeing a few. I can't say they are denning here, but there's a pretty open green swath leading from Canada through Vermont to here, so, maybe they are traveling through sometimes? Or expanding their territory. Such amazing creatures... though I think folks might freak out if they really moved in and were out about it! Just as they are about the mountain lions which are so rarely seen that the Fish and Wildlife folks claim they AREN"T here... but we know they are. Plenty of folks catch glimpses.... so, next maybe its wolves.....!

Ruthie Redden said...

Valerianna, these is something so deeply moving about sitting & listening to the world about us when it is uninterrupted by noise! when we were small my grandad would take us out into the velvet cornish night to sit under the stars & teach us the calls of the owls, and the song of the brook. Your garden looks such a beautiful haven x

Valerianna said...

ruthie - sounds like you had a great grandad!

Acornmoon said...

It's nice to think of you sitting outside with your computer so that my world is somehow linked to yours and we too can imagine if not experience the calm of your moss garden and hear the frogs and crickets.