Silence (the sound of)

Silence (the sound of)

Years ago I read an article in the Utne Reader, called In Search of Silence, about Gordon Hempton who created One Square Inch, a project dedicated to identifying and preserving places in the Hoh Rainforest of Olympic National Park in Washington State, one of the few places still where you can sit for 15 minutes and not hear one man-made sound.  Hempton’s recorded the sounds in the spaces that he’s identified — he won an Emmy for that and has done soundtracks for movies, computer games, even PBS — and protects those areas as if they were his children.  He’s also marked the places with a small red stone so others can identify them and go there to listen to the silence, a skill, he says, that humans are losing.

Until you’re in the deep woods, it’s almost impossible to find a place with no man-made sounds.  Anywhere there are people there are cars, trains, buses, generators, transformers, cell towers, cell phones, human voices, refrigerators, and so on.  To illustrate, you can easily hear the roar of the surf when you’re at the beach, or the scream of a motorcycle accelerating down the highway, but when was the last time you heard a leaf falling?  These are the sounds that we are in danger of losing, having been drowned out by we noisy humans who tromp around without a care and who can barely hear each other, let alone nature, over the din of activities of daily living.

There are safe levels of noise for the public, we just don’t pay much attention to that.  In addition to causing noise pollution, too much man-made sound increases stress levels in both humans and animals and can lead to obesity and heart disease among other things.

Want to learn more about noise pollution and the effects on our hearing.  Check out the always informative blog, Silent City, created by my friend, Gina Briggs.  And no, chocolate does not prevent hearing loss, but I’m sure we’d all have been much happier if it did.

Next time you’re out in the woods, or even your own backyard, stop and listen to the many sounds of nature.  You’d be surprised by the thrum  of life that exists just under the surface of all that other noise.

Today is Day 19 of the #AtoZ Blog Challenge.  It’s so quiet, I can hear a pin drop.

AND — Happy Earth Day!  Show your mama how much you love her.  Shut off that noisy car engine of yours and take a walk instead — without ear buds — and just listen to the wind and the birds in the trees.  Your ears will also thank you.

pamlazos 4.22.19

About Pam Lazos

writer, blogger, environmentally hopeful
This entry was posted in Earth Day, man-made sounds, Olympic National Park, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Silence (the sound of)

  1. What a marvelous treasure to protect! Some of my favorite sounds are composed by nature: rainfall, crickets, and winged choirs. xxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ronel Janse van Vuuren says:

    Great post! I like to take the time over weekends to just be in nature: cleaning out my chicken coops (and making sure they didn’t unearth something harmful), cleaning the stables and paddocks (when the horses allow me to, of course) and just spending time on m,y compost heap. (I know: I’m obsessed with cleaning.) It’s relaxing and the sounds and smells of nature makes me happy.

    Ronel visiting with the A-Z Challenge music and writing: Something Local

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We hike the woods daily & it is pawsitively wagnificent 🐾💜🐾
    Pawsome post🐾
    💜nose nudges 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lindasschaub says:

    I’ve heard of this gentleman before Pam on the He has a website which features many types of soothing sounds, besides the “sounds of silence” – pretty amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I found myself in the forest yesterday and inhaled its silence…I have the radio on and it’s raining outside but that sacred silence is still soothing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ken Dowell says:

    Wait. I think I hear Simon & Garfunkel somewhere off in the distance.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Need to take you into the wilds of Glencoe darling xxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Morning, Pam. Sometimes late at night I sit outside at the back of my house. There’s still plenty of man-made noise at those hours. But it’s also when I become more aware of nature sounds: insects, wind, etc.
    It helps to reduce the stress level.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. J.R. LeMar says:

    Yes, too much noise is stressful. Unfortunately, I have a bit of tinnitus, so no matter I’ll never experience *complete* silence again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam Lazos says:

      Sorry to hear that. I think that the problem will continue to grow in society because of all the background noise. Have you tried acupuncture? I forget if it’s the small or large intestine that’s connected to the ear via the same channel. You may want to see if getting a “clearing” helps. Good luck! 🍀

      Liked by 1 person

      • J.R. LeMar says:

        Well, I’m kinda lucky in that, unlike some extreme tinnitus sufferers, mine is pretty minor. I don’t really notice it most of the time, because of all the other normal daily sounds that mask it. It’s only when it does get really quiet, like late at night or early in the morning, or if I’m home alone and in the bathroom, that I notice the sound. So that’s what I mean how I can never experience complete silence, I can turn everything off and be alone and I’ll still have the slight buzzing in my ear.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pam Lazos says:

        That’s too bad. Give acupuncture a try.


  10. GMB says:

    Thank you, darling! This is a wonderful piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. lampmagician says:

    Yes! actually, when we’re in the normal working days of our life, we don’t mention how noisy is all around our head. Though, sometimes I notice it and get conscious thereabout. Anyway, your attentive suggestion is very useful 🙂 thank you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  12. cath says:

    How lovely, Pam. I wish I’d known this yesterday, when we took three children for a walk in the forest. Lovely as it was, we hardly seemed to find time to stop and stare, let alone, listen.

    Happy Earth day to you, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Susan Scott says:

    It’s so lovely and quiet where I am – all I can hear are birds chirping, doves coo-ing. O and my fingers tapping. I hope here in my country they can stop people in cars with their blaring music which has now been identified as a road hazard and danger to all. I’ll check out Silent City soon-

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam Lazos says:

      We live in a little remote section tucked away right in the midst of everything so while we don’t have neighbors piling up on top of us, the noise from the highway drifts over the hills and as more people move into our town that noise gets more pronounced, like listening to the ocean; it’s always there just not as beautiful, Susan.

      Liked by 1 person

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