In our modern world, absolute human silence is among the rarest of commodities. For thousands of centuries our nature preserve– or more precisely, what would become our nature preserve, was devoid of all noise pollution caused by the machinery of civilization. There was of course still sound; yes, trees falling in the forest would've been heard by a multitude of non-human ears. There were sounds created by water (including glaciers), wind, thunder, wild animals and other natural phenomenon. But incessant noise from vehicles, airplanes, motorized equipment and firearms was not an issue until the relatively recent past.
|The Northern Cardinal is commonly encountered in our winter woods|
|One of our friendly Black-capped Chickadees takes a seed from my hand|
|With temperatures near the freezing point, several species of spider remained active|
In the forest, mixed flocks of winter resident songbirds like Chickadees, Titmice and Nuthatches were all giving their own respective call notes as they forged among frosted branches. A crisp flapping sound issued as each bird moved from perch to perch. On top of it all, the Golden-crowned Kinglet emitted high-pitched, “pssssst” calls, as if they were keen to divulge some secret to their feathered fellow travelers.
|The Stone fly is one of very few species of insects active in winter|
|The beaver pond is iced over except for the area right before the dam|
|The female Northern Cardinal|
So the next Sunday/Christmas convergence won’t happen until 2016; and when it does hopefully, some of you will know how to celebrate it – take an early morning walk into the wilderness and let your ears feast on the sounds of nature.