Living in the city, it is extremely hard to appreciate the fact that music surrounds us every single day; there is no need to pick up an instrument or turn on the radio in order to hear a rhythm. All you really need to do is be present. I encourage all of my readers to go outdoors, walk to your nearest park, or drive to an open space and just listen, breath. What do you hear? Is there a specific rhythm or melody that starts to appear? It certainly does for me! Coming from a rural small town, I am constantly aware of this missing piece from my city dweller lifestyle. You can still hear music in the woosh of passing cars, conversations between friends walking down the street, and construction coming from the new house going up next store, but does it rejuvenate you? I would say not.
Last week my sister and her boyfriend were in town from Seattle and we decided to take an over night hike along the Long Trail/ AT to a place called Little Rock Pond. I find hiking and camping are unique experiences because it takes you, if you do it correctly, deep into forests and mountains and away from the bustle of human life. It gives you an opportunity to re-engage with yourself and this environment we call planet earth. As I walked along the trail, I listened to the swish of leaves and melodies from birds calling out to each other across the trail. Brooks bubbled with water rushing by and as we thumped across roots and rocks, a rhythm began to appear; this is one of the most enjoyable parts for me about hiking. You can even create a rhythm from the bugs you swat out of your face as you start to sweat! Keep in mind, nature was our first sound track, the crash of thunder would tell us to take cover, the chirping of birds signal the coming of spring, crashing stampedes a sign of approaching danger. Without the ability to be present to these rhythms of life, humans would never have survived. I believe as our society grows further and further away from nature and this sound track we grow more anxious, more stressed out, and our health declines.
So I'll leave you with this, try to get out into nature at leas once a week. Sit, breath, be present, and most importantly listen to the music that is all around you! Here is a piece written by Finnish contemporary composer Einojuhani Rautavaara called Cantus Arcticus Op. 61 'Concerto for Birds and Orchestra' (1972). In this composition, Rautavaara masterfully combines recordings he took of birds in the marshlands of Liminka in Northern Finland with orchestra for a breath taking concerto.