Tuesday 10: Listening to Autumn

My favorite youngest daughter loves to read. When she was a child, she would cuddle up with a book instead of a stuffed animal and go to sleep at night. In 1993 a wonderful children’s book was released authored by Paul Showers and illustrated by Ailiki, called The Listening Walk. We gave it to her for her birthday in October and a few days later she said, “Daddy, let’s go for our own listening walk, just like the story.” In our busy 21st century lives, taking time to listen to the world around us takes dedication to having an experience where you are living 100% in the moment.

With a Bi-week for the Rams and Broncos, I spent a lot of time outdoors over the weekend and decided to listen to the sounds of autumn:

IMG_20141019_1643390361. Canada Geese are heading south and Fort Collins has a history with this species, introduced to the area by two Fort Collins Wildlife Biologists in the late 50’s-early 60’s (Jack Grieb and Gurney Crawford). As I was raking leaves, I heard them overhead. Some birds seem to have a singular sound when flying, but Canada Geese are a chorus with their note range. Sometimes all you can hear is the whirring of their 4’-6’ wingspan.

2. We walked our dog through the neighborhood and as we approached a big weeping willow tree, we could hear buzzing. Under the canopy of the tree, we discovered it was alive with a deafening sound of yellow jackets!

3. Our friend, Kathy, says her favorite part of Fall is listening to the sound of leaves crunching under your feet when walking through them. Remember as a kid piling leaves up in mound and jumping into them?

4. In our yard, we have a variety of deciduous trees which change colors and drop their leaves over several weeks. The good news is that you can hear the leaves falling from the trees for weeks. The bad news is there are leaves on the lawn nonstop for a month!

5. With our mild temperatures this year, we can still hear the flies outside. As long as they aren’t bothering me, I can be amazed at how such a small insect can make such a big sound.

6. Xeriscaping with native grasses bring a wonderful dimension to one’s landscape. I was raised in Nebraska where the prairie is endless. Stand in the middle of a field of grasses on a breezy day and you can see and hear the “waves”, not unlike the ocean.

7. Last year, my wife and daughter decided to create a sound garden in our front yard. Among other things, they planted tall grasses and added two wind chimes. The bamboo wind chime and Corinthian bells wind chime have a repertoire of their own depending upon how gentle or pronounced our winds blow.

8. Shortly after moving into our home in 1996, my wife requested that we create a small pond. As a family, we spent one Sunday digging the hole and creating our little water feature. Although it is simple compared to many I have seen, it is our special place to enjoy the sound of water.

9. Have you ever listened to the “brush” of a rake as it passes through grass on its way to gathering leaves. The rhythm can be hypnotic!

10. And what would a listening list be without the ambient sounds of a plane overhead, a lawn mower in the distance, or the barking of a dog?

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