Zounds! Sounds!

My next statement about growing up in the country appears to contradict itself. The quietness at night can actually be loud enough that it rings in your ears. I lie there in my bed unable to sleep for some reason. It’s the middle of the night. There are no cars going by on the blacktop. There are no planes flying overhead. The cows haven’t calved recently so there are no bellowing mamas upset about their calf being taken away. My brothers aren’t snoring at the moment. It is quiet. Phrases like “silence was deafening” and “deep silence” were coined to define these moments. It is quiet.

There are also times when it is not so silent. The barn cats fighting can be very nerve wracking if they happen to wake you up. Of course, cats are found in cities. The contrast of squalling tom cats against the otherwise quiescent darkness is certainly startling. Five seconds of screaming cats and screaming nerves.

Cute? Maybe not.

Cute? Maybe not.

It is truly astounding how loud cicadas can be. Periodic cicadas are insects that show up at various different yearly cycles ranging from 2 to 17 years! They emerge from the ground, do their thing, and disappear for years. A few years ago, two different cycle hatches happened to emerge at the same time. The sound coming from the woods was so loud you could hear it driving in the truck with the windows rolled up. Here is a clip of just one cicada. www.youtube.com/watch?v=mah26og11ms

Whipporwills like to sing at dusk. I find their oft repeated warbling quite soothing. I know another guy who wanted to indiscriminately blast away at the trees with a shotgun in an attempt to quiet one who got on his nerves like a dripping faucet. Try this website and imagine this sound repeating ENDLESSLY! http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/whip-poor-will/sounds

There are many other sounds that are truly magnificent when not drowned out by the ambient clamor of cities. Rain on the roof, soft wind rustling the trees, distant thunder just at the edge of hearing, the creek flowing by me as I float leaves on the current are just a few of them. Cows eating grass are astoundingly loud when you get close enough to hear their sandpaper tongues pulling the stems from the roots. Guinea fowl are also astoundingly loud at zero dark thirty when they start screeching in the tree 15 feet from your bed. Ask my older brother.

You can enjoy many of these sounds in some of your states parks. Camp out overnight sometime and leave all your electronic gear at home. Take a hike at a conservation center.  Float one of Missouri’s fine rivers and stop on a sandbar. Don’t listen to me, listen to everything else.


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