Turns out this past Sunday was World Listening Day. I caught wind of it scrolling through Instagram. Zion National Park posted about it along with a video that featured soundscapes from around the park. The question they posed got me thinking: What is the soundscape like where you live?
Birds. Lots of birds, especially in spring. Now, near the middle of summer, they’ve quieted down. There are still birds chirping every morning, just not nearly as many babies. It’s otherwise pretty still. I’m grateful for the stillness. I thought more about that question though, to other soundscapes I’ve experienced and what others may be experiencing. The wind through larch trees in the North Cascades. The sound of the murmuring Ohanapecosh River in the southeast corner of Mount Rainier National Park. Folks who live in the middle of a city like our twenty-one-year-old son, Julian.
Reading more about World Listening Day, I found myself kind of fascinated. Sure, I’m a sound geek. Still, it’s a cool concept to celebrate just listening. How it’s an art that requires attention and dedication. How it seems listening, keeping quiet, should be really easy. Why then does it take so much effort?
Maybe beyond the 18th of July every year I’ll remember its purpose: Practice less talking and more listening.