This week's On Being is visited by a man who calls himself an "acoustic ecologist," a man who's right about silence but still startlingly strange. His major contention is that we don't listen, period. To someone like me, who finds himself ear-budded and all-too-often on-line, this man, Gordon Hempton made me shiver a bit with his call, not to silence, but simply to hear the world around us, to listen.
I had to go 40 miles north to find a break in the clouds this morning. For the most part, the world around me seemed a trap, no exit. Up north the thick line of cloudiness had already passed--you can see the line here, the only source of light at dawn. So I set sail for the broken sky.
The whole time I was out, Krista Tippett was talking to this acoustic ecologist, who, I finally decided, had absolutely nothing on me this morning. The river shots here were so full of glorious ambience, a Mormon Tabernacle Choir of birds, that I almost felt myself a saint, listener that I was, even there was no crowning sun.
And then the beaver. What a morning! He came paddling up river, against the current, watched me above him on the bridge, but just kept swimming, creating his own considerable eddies. For a while, I thought this water log with an engine might just strut out on the bank for me, but he was eager and busy, as beavers supposedly are. He kept right on going. But I got a portrait he ought to have in his hut bedroom--either that or give it to his girl.
Wasn't a bell-ringer this morning. The only story, really, was the sky--and, if you look closely, the tiny rows of corn all over the land.
But can you beat that beaver? What a guy, to pose on a day when the pickin's were more than a little slim.