Happy World Listening Day!

Today, July 18th is a day to remind ourselves to listen to the world around us.

Listening means a lot of different things. To me, it’s a time to really focus in on what I’m hearing. To try to hear things in unusual ways. As my colleague and mentor Hildegard Westerkamp says “to get inside the sound”

I celebrated the day by listening to some of the sounds I gathered last week when I was in Toronto .. sounds that we take for granted all the time — streetcar sounds, street festivals, people talking to each other on the street, that one bird whose chirps and tweets rise above the sounds of the cars, other birds, dogs barking, sirens screaming.

Come to think of it, a poem I wrote a few years ago describes it perfectly:

Be here …
Amidst the soughing of the trees
The clicks and whirls of summer cicadas
gentle swish of the waves
On the distant shore Be here
Not there
In the centre of metal upon metal
Low grumble of machine
Hysterical wail of sirens
responding back to the wails of the world

Be here now
With closed eyes
With ears opened
To the possibilities of a world which hears its own heart.

- Victoria Fenner 2003

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