Jason Hawkins Outdoors: Listen and you'll hear

Apr. 30, 2014 @ 04:30 PM

It’s 3:40 a.m. and I think my home is surrounded.

From whatever dream I dare not disclose, I wake to the howls of a small contingent of coyotes as you would when packs of wild, calculating, viscious animals are encircling your home.

I open the door to the porch and all I hear are crickets, frogs and more crickets.

The sounds we hear in the outdoors are part of the experiences we live in the outdoors. We can replicate the action of something with our arms. We can mentally paint an image, over and over, making it longer, bigger, and more imaginative with each stroke of our mental brush.

Yet, nothing sounds as good as it does when it is heard outdoors.

I stand on my porch about 10:20 each evening await the train whistle. It’s far and away and yet loud enough for all the coyotes to hear and subsequently howl and it fascinates me.

It is also fascinating to me when hearing becomes listening and this becomes an event of focus. The scene was quite common. There was darkness and there were birds.

We were situated and hoping a particular bird would make a specific sound and we could trick the bird into thinking what he hears is what he wants, right where we were.

The whisper comes from my right where another set of ears, only seven years trained, were also listening.

In a whisper, “Dad, do the roosters always wake the farmers?” he asks.

“Yes, when they hear them,” I reply.

My attention is not on that of the particular bird we seek, as it is not making a noise, and instead, I hear the rooster, too, along with a motley assortment of barking dogs.

He, being very interested in the rooster and the process by which a farmer awakens, says, “If that rooster is trying to wake the farmer, the dogs want him to keep trying so they can come eat him-up.”

There are moments in the outdoors that look great and there are moments in the outdoors that sound so much better. It is almost as if the tangible aspects of our experiences rely upon touch and what we see, yet, those that we hear inspire us, create a personal memory, in some instances create a heroic response.

It is commonplace for me to pause in the earliness of the day, or along the soft steps towards the woods, or in the dark of night, to listen.

Enjoy your time outdoors.

Email Jason Hawkins at hawkinsoutdoors@msn.com