Dawn returning: one with the birds

Mist over the reed beds at dawn in Winnall Moors

02/05/10
Spring is fast. So fast in fact, I thought I would return to a dawn recording made in May.  The moors seem to change every time you visit them, larger greener, louder. The dawn chorus is quite delicious, but for me it is not the complexity of song or identity of the multitude of voices, that captures my listening, it is the acoustic space that these voices describe: areas and volumes of space emerging and disappearing around me. According to the anthropologist Edmund ‘snow’ Carpenter, the oral tradition of the Aivlik (Eskimo) people results in a world that favours the ear over the eye. This impacts upon the Aivlik perception of time and space for as Carpenter writes:

‘Acoustic space has no favoured focus. It’s a sphere without fixed boundaries, space made by the thing itself, not space containing the thing. It is not pictorial space, boxed-in, but dynamic, always in flux, creating its own dimensions moment by moment. It has no fixed boundaries; it is indifferent to background. The eye focuses, pinpoints, abstracts, locating each object in physical space, against a background; the ear, however, favours sound from any direction.’
(Edmund Carpenter, et. al. 1959. Eskimo. Toronto: Toronto University Press)

If you remember my brief encounter with the Canadian Geese, which greeted my arrival several dawns ago, well now they return to bring me into another dawn. As the recording closes, two swans in the distance beat their wings into flight and take themselves out beyond the boundaries of this soundscape.

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