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Today is September 16, 2021


Make sure to listen in June

By Tony Kinton

Make sure to listen in June

Regardless of season, a woods trail is delightful.

Unless one can effectively and significantly improve upon quiet, perhaps that one should consciously and methodically refrain from creating noise. This intrusion — noise — presents in a broad assortment of forms, and very few are necessary. Mindless chatter, obnoxious machines, non-essential devices. All are capable of disturbing the peace, of fencing one out, or in, from healthful quiet.

Quiet, however, is not specifically silence. There can be sounds, and a great many of these can still qualify as quiet. It is this category of quiet to which I refer here. This quiet is a healing, refreshing, and life-enhancing collection of sounds. June is filled with them.

Take a walk. Proper attire is essential. Earbuds and cell phones and any device that may interrupt are an anathema. Just walk. And listen. Depending upon time of day, sounds — proper sounds — will vary. Early mornings can produce a cacophony of bird calls as the callers stir with daylight. There can be rasping and singing and chirping and cooing and hammering and minuscule clucks and peeps from cardinals, doves, blue jays, Eastern Towhees, Carolina Wrens, red-bellied woodpeckers. The Tufted Titmouse. The raucous crow.

And there may be, especially a little later in the morning, those high-pitched screeches of hawks as these raptors call and circle in newly-lit skies or perch elevated and whisper- gentle in limber treetops. There may be the haunting cry and snappy cluck of a yellow-billed coo-coo, locally known as the rain crow. Fortunate sojourners may encounter the chilling and perhaps alarming call of the pileated woodpecker, a strange and wild announcement made by a grand and handsome bird.

Don’t forget the mockingbird. Should this one be encountered, the hearer must be somewhat versed in identifying bird calls or that hearer will mistake this vocal virtuoso for some other avian species. He is, after all, a mockingbird.

Twilight and following, sounds likely change. A purely grand and peaceful symphony is often generated by an array of frogs. One that is particularly pleasing is the spring peeper, a little guy that peeps merrily in concert with others of the kind. I often stand for long periods and listen to them. The sound is restful. Be advised, however; peeping intensity and occurrence will decline as spring ages and mating season wanes.

There is another frog capable of pleasant sound. This one is the true basso profundo of any frog choir — the bullfrog. Wonderful rumblings come from this gentleman. And his call will rarely be mistaken.

Keep an ear out for coyotes. Their hair-raising but almost giddy yapping as they begin a night’s hunt is strangely enchanting.

So, take a walk. Silence the cell. The walk and listening will be more productive.

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