The Sounds of Nature, THEY CALL US BACK…to the Wild

  • Is that the haunting howl of the wolf or the call of a loon?
  • Can you ever forget that buck grunt in a November woods or a turkey gobble on a spring morning?
  • The sounds of nature are everywhere in the wild if we just take the time to listen.
The sound of lightning can bring fright, but the sight of lightning can be beautiful in a night sky.

By Larry Whiteley

There are some sounds in the great outdoors that you hear and they touch your soul. You don’t have to see what made the sound because when you hear it, you instantly see it in your mind. You may even hear them and see them as you read these words.

To some, the bugle of an elk is like that and so is the haunting howl of the wolf or the call of a loon. It might even be a cougar’s throaty growl or the gruff huff of a grizzly or black bear. Those of us who don’t live where these animals live, rarely if ever, get to hear these sounds in the wild unless we travel to where they are but if we do, they linger in our memories. Can you hear them?

An elk bugle can linger forall time in our minds. Howard Communications Photo

Most of us have sounds in nature that stir us. A buck grunt in a November woods, the sound of a majestic eagle flying over a quiet lake or a turkey gobble on a spring morning. It could be the kingfisher’s rattling call as he flies up and down the creek or a coyote yelp.

Maybe it’s the quacking of ducks or honking of geese as they settle onto the water. The drumming sound of a woodpecker trying to attract a mate, the booming sounds of prairie chickens during their mating ritual and maybe the strange music of a woodcock doing his sky dance trying to impress the ladies too. Some of us hope that one day we will once again hear the sound of the bobwhite quail. Can you hear them?

Songbirds also add to nature’s chorus. Chickadee’s sing “chick-a-dee-dee-dee,” the cardinal’s join them with their “purdy-purdy-purdy” and the robin’s whistling “cheerup-cheery-cheerio-cheerup” are joined by the tweets and whistles of all their friends. The squeal of a hawk can silence the bird music and get the squirrels barking an alarm to their buddies.

Owls ask us “who, who, who cooks for you.” Crows, “caw-caw-caw,” and then caw some more. The sound of peeper frogs or a whip-poor-will means spring is finally here. The flapping sound of hummingbird wings and their distinctive chirp will soon follow. The rhythmic choruses of katydids can be so loud that they drown out nearly all other sounds. Tree Crickets are known as the thermometer cricket because you can count the number of its high-pitched musical chirps in 15 seconds and add 40 to calculate the outdoor temperature in Fahrenheit. Believe me, it works!

A beautiful painted bunting sings a patented song that is wonderful to hear. 

The sounds of nature are everywhere in the wild if we just take the time to listen and it’s not only from the animals and birds. A rush of wind through the treetops, the rattling of dried fall leaves in a breeze and the sound of crunching leaves as something nears your secret hiding place. Booming thunder, the crack of lightning and rain dripping on a tent or the popping and crackling of a campfire. A stream tumbling over rocks and the soothing sounds of a waterfall small or big are music to the ears. To some, it is the ocean waves crashing onto a sandy beach. To others it may be the “plip-plop, plip-plop” sound of a jitterbug gurgling across the water followed by the loud splash of a big bass rising out of the water to engulf it.

Nature sounds not only soothe our souls but they are also suitable for our mind and body. Researchers say there is a scientific explanation for why sounds from nature have such a restorative effect on us. According to a study, they physically alter the connections in our brains to keep other thoughts out and the sounds even lower our heart rate. The exercise we get going to and from our listening places is an added benefit.

A swiftly, silently, soaring eagle, singing a majestic tune in a bright blue sky.

You’re not likely to hear or for that matter see wildlife unless you force yourself to just sit still. We hike, we hunt, we fish, we camp, we canoe, we are continually on the move when in the great outdoors and not very quietly. We also carry with us the baggage of everyday worries, what’s on the news, bills to be paid and work to be done.

You have to block all that out. Remaining still and quiet and actually paying attention to the sounds of nature is what is essential. But that doesn’t come easy. You can’t just stop, listen for a few minutes and then move on. You have to settle down and tune into the sounds around you.

Those of us who sit in a treestand and a turkey or duck blind usually have no problem doing that because we have to if we want to be successful. If you wish to go out and listen to nature sounds though I suggest you find a fallen tree, a stump or a big rock. Make a comfortable cushion of leaves, pine needles or take along some kind of pad and sit down. Now, don’t do anything but relax. Don’t let restlessness or thoughts of other matters creep back into your mind. Stay relaxed and breathe slow and easy. If you remain still the wildlife around you will forget you are even there. Soon enough the sounds of the wild will return.

Soothing sounds of flowing water can bring us to new place in time in the hallows of our mind.

The real art in listening to nature is not so much hearing the sounds of life in the woods as it is in identifying them. Listening carefully to nature sounds and learning what makes that sound can help you begin to distinguish one sound from another and that gives you a greater appreciation for what you’re hearing. The digital age has made it easier than ever to school yourself in Nature Sounds. Although this and other aids may be able to help, there’s no substitute for firsthand experience. It’s not just an ability to identify sounds, but also an understanding of their meanings, that will come to you when you spend time listening carefully.

Yes, you can download and listen to nature sounds on your computer, tablet or smartphone. I listen to nature sounds accompanied by the melodic sounds of the Native American flute as I drive down the road in my truck. If it is a cold, nasty day not fit for man nor beast I will put my headphones on and drift off to sleep listening to the sounds of nature. That is all good too but it does not replace actually being out there in the great outdoors and being stirred by the sounds of nature that call us back to the wild.

Listen closely, can you hear them?

Let’s Bond with Nature this Saturday, Sep. 28 – Rick Clunn asks…”Join Me, Please.”

  • National Geographic’s current issue is about that fragile connection between all things
  • We all need nature to help us
  • Celebrate by locating an NHF Day event near where you live, there are many.

By Rick Clunn

The photos, this one and the one below, are of my Dad and Mom sharing the outdoors with me.

Saturday is National Hunting and Fishing Day, and I know that there is some special day to celebrate almost every day, but Hunting and Fishing are the last remaining vehicles to keep the masses connected to nature and like my Dad use to say, “Daphine (my Mom), if I don’t get in the woods or on the water this weekend, I am going to go crazy.”

What was a prophetic statement for him, it is equally true for society.

National Geographic’s current issue is about that fragile connection between all things. It stated that, “If you dig deep enough behind virtually every human conflict, you will find an erosion of the bond between humans and the natural world around them.” What I am most proud of with my relationship with Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops is their endless work trying to maintain a healthy connection between humans and the outdoors through their Conservation efforts.

So join me and Bass Pro shops in celebrating National Hunting and Fishing Day this Saturday, the 28th of September. But take it one more step! Take a friend, family member, someone on an adventure, go fishing or hunting. I have stated before, that I am hard-pressed to remember a single gift I received, but can easily recall many fishing, hunting, and camping adventures. The photos are of my Dad and Mom sharing the outdoors with me.

Quote from Edward Abbey: “It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends. Ramble out yonder and explore the forest, climb the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely mysterious and awesome space.”

Visit me to share your thoughts: https://www.facebook.com/rick.clunn.

Thanks.

 

Editor Note: This article and the pictures were provided by Rick Clunn via Facebook to share with all outdoor persons, their neighbors, and friends.

 

Outdoors Apocalypse, “New Kids” can provide New Leadership

Help raise funds to help the Conservation Alliance protect wild lands and waters across North America for future generations.

  • New Ecology, New Nature, New Adventure
  • New Gear, New Kids…Old Fun in a New Way

By Forrest Fisher

Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota can offer a new view to age-old rocks and mountain formations – a great place to explore.

Summer is warmer and starts earlier, winter is warmer and shorter. We have a longer rainy season each year. Modern generations are convinced that nature is changing. 

New forms of fun have evolved to welcome millions of millennials to the outdoors where they escape to thrills with a welcome rush of fun, sometimes for just a moment or two.

The “new kids” bungee cord, hike, run, breathe fresh air, hear the surf crashing, ski downhill on snow-covered mountains, skin dive to photo-shoot fish on coral reefs – any of these a short flight from home. A usual manner of departure for their modern millennial day. They enjoy the wind moving through their hair, are protected from UV rays with modern sunscreen and meet accepted new standards of our apparent new age.

Outdoor participation is in a state of change in our modern outdoors, but it is about the millennial modern perspective, insulated within a well-planned, undeterred call for momentary adrenaline through nature. Then it’s back to work. Some millennials work 20 hour days, mostly on a keyboard.

As we approach Thanksgiving, is it time to rethink the feast of nature?

There are times when the truth of the woods, nature itself, is under question by the city folks, many millennials themselves. The new nature includes getting lost and resting easy to find yourself, sometimes in solitude, sometimes with a friend.

A roll-up air mattress that fits into the backpack with comfort to be found in a pop-up camp tent to enjoy a great night of sleep under the stars.

Pinnacle Dualist Complete is a great pocket-sized camp set for hiking and biking.

In your backpack, you remove your Pinnacle Dualist, it is the ultimate mess kit with stove and tiny isobutane fuel supply – total weight: 27 ounces. The kit integrates everything for hot meals and warm drinks in an impossibly small footprint.

No plastics allowed, no cigarettes, just filtered stream water, sustainable supplies, all with efforts to provide for a better future in nature and time away.

A clean future.

A green future.

A sustainable future.

Maybe these “new kids” reached their campsite on a rock-proof mountain bike. New products today can provide increased range for adventure.

Silence is the special gift of such new adventure, interrupted only by the sound of a lazy campfire, glimmering fireflies from a nearby field and woods. There is expectation for surprise looking skyward for a meteor to zoom across the night darkness.

That’s a moment to make a timely wish for peace in the world.

Nature by itself is a natural celebrity. A place where your internal clock is secure and a new secret to sync your body system is discovered. The “new kids” live true with such adventure.

Microlite Stainless Vacuum bottle is efficient, lightweight and affordable.

There is time to write a handwritten letter to someone you know that needs a letter.  A sip of purified mountain water from your Microlite water bottle that keeps liquids hot or cold for all day. Delicious.  

Nature is truly grand.

Morning light provides a new connection to the day ahead. It’s hard to miss the “new day” vindication of mixed color, hues of yellow, orange and red. It’s a beautiful planet you think to yourself.  You sense a new and sudden perfection with nature at this moment. You welcome your relaxed state of mind.

Friendship, wildlife, nature, conservation – all linked at this moment. 

Your mind wanders a bit, then you think back to mankind centuries old to realize the bonus, this is the same morning sunlight that people 5,000 years ago watched come over the horizon. So times have not changed, you option in thought. You do know though, that this overnight experience has provided an uplift for you.

Nature is truly grand.

Human nature is a bit like Mother Nature with the seasons of spring, summer, winter and fall, you imagine. The seasons restore each other. Maybe Mother Nature has not changed all that much then or, you option, maybe it has. There is time to ponder this question.

Can there be a new algorithm to slow down this latest “new kids” generation that seeks to find instant solutions through the assortment of so many keyboard tools.

Jeans, T-shirt, sneakers, ball cap and sunglasses is all you really need to “fit in.” Soong as you have a battery cord and charger.

So we ask, “Is this the new nature or the old nature? “The “new kids” nature is…you accept, extraordinary.

Some parts of our planet can provide an age-old view into our changing nature.

Sunset arrives with an orange glow.

The clouds rest.

The wind is silent now too.

An owl hoots in a nearby tree.

It’s time for millennials to join up with nature to find adventure in the outdoors.  It’s time for millennials to understand why hunting and fishing are important to our future and our ecology.

Us older folks could use the new leadership, don’t be afraid to ask us for a match.

Tales of Sharing Summertime

Summer flowers in full bloom attract a honey bee and a fly as they both share in the nectar of friendship and nature. Jim Monteleone Photo

With local villages and townships across the country enjoying the summertime, the outdoors in 2016 has become a main theme for many.

People travel from near and far to enjoy the receptive energy that visiting new destinations can offer. I visited a small town USA village last week, East Aurora, New York, and found a town fair atmosphere with Main Street shut down so that local artists, authors, vendors, coffee maker folks and many others could share time in the brilliant sunshine of the day.

There were hanging planters ablaze in flowering, colorful glory, hummingbirds were frequent visitors as I watched from a park bench placed along the way.

Develop New Friends in Nature

Girl Scout and Boy Scout youngsters were on hand – I talked with local adult leaders of these groups, 4H groups were there too, shop displays, stores and small handmade crafts were nourishing the crowds with that feeling of traditional values and friendships, all in the unanimated outdoor world. The festivities were genuine and interconnected with our outdoorsy village and it made me consider that many folks never ever really discover the elements of the nature world that surrounds us every day.

Nature has a certain reverence about it quite like this quaint little village of East Aurora. Probably why many of the folks we spoke with love to live there, plus we also discovered old fashioned grind-your-own coffee bean coffee shops and microbrew factories! Just like old times.

Yet, it seems that modern society and nature have opposing new forces about our diverse ecology. As my better half and I enjoyed this visit – the plants, the sunshine, the people, we watched a few whitetail deer fawns and their mother doe in a distant nearby field as sunset approached.

Connected Through Nature

My mind switched to consider the delicate balance of living organisms that secretly thrive among us in a food chain similar to the chatting and inspiring interconnected conversations on this special Main Street. Both are a part of that natural feedback loop that we never see.

More directly involved in the outdoor world, anglers identify the important energy we need to know more about with that delicate balance in nature. Many anglers use life-restoring water wells in their boats, they promote “catch-measure-release-alive” fishing tournaments and they promote better management policies with controlled minimum size limits and daily bag limits. All good.

Hunters too, are formally educated about wanton waste of killing game not intended for personal consumption or needy food kitchens.

The North American Game Plan sets the policy that provides enriching focus for local states and municipalities about the intended necessary balance of nature, and an elaborate destiny detailed to educate our outdoor community in the manner of respecting the wildlife many of hunt today. Much like many of our forefathers did long ago.

Hiking and camping too, we are taught to carry out what we carry in. Don’t litter. Leave your destination as you found it or make it cleaner and better.

Fishermen can share secrets for success, exchange ideas for better conservation and promote the ecology while promoting the economy at the same time. Forrest Fisher Photo

Anglers and hunters contribute to conservation and enforcement of species-protecting rules and regulations from their pocketbooks more than any other group. The license fee to fish or hunt or trap is heavy. There is no fee levied for most other groups that are allowed to explore flora and fauna in the same woods and on the same waters as anglers and hunters, yet many of those groups are among the largest numbers to promote anti-hunting and anti-fishing campaigns. Maybe they don’t really understand. Let’s leave it there.

All of us as a group, might strive to learn more about how to budget that delicate balance of life in the outdoors that survives in our woods and streams. It may be difficult to bring our Pokémon-oriented, head-down, modern universe, into a responsible understanding of the positive influence we must all hope to develop to maintain the original blueprints of our ecology. It won’t be easy.

Will we need science and technology? Yes, absolutely. Yet, in the beginning, nature did seem to survive without it. Like the enormous beauty that we can find in a cloudless and moonless night, or the intricate moments to be savored during morning sunrise or evening sunset, or the enlightened fear we suddenly realize during an electrical thunderstorm that ravages our hilltops on occasion, there are often many sides to the same coin.

These things in nature interact so dynamically that we allow ourselves the reward to develop unwritten respect and passion for nature. At the same time, responsible sportsmen can enjoy the traditional value a fish dinner or a venison roast – as that too, now that we understand, is all part of the delicate balance we need to manage.  We are part of it.

Enjoy the outdoors-based cosmos of summertime near you and evoke others to get involved in the outdoors.