It sounds like late spring out there and I love it (Outdoor Diary)

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There’s something special about the way spring sounds in Alaska.

Maybe it’s how dramatic the experience is as compared to the sounds of winter. Maybe it’s that they’re happy sounds that I can hear through my windows. Maybe it’s that the weather is so much nicer than it had been, that I’m outside more to hear sounds at all.

Whatever the reason, I’m loving the outdoor symphony. Here’s what I’ve been noticing.

Listen now.

Some of the good stuff:

[00:35] I’m feeling really grateful for my ears
[00:52] Here’s the source of my leaning into my senses challenge
[01:46] The sounds of spring are basically the best
[02:02] Here’s a few examples
[02:26] Birds, birds, birds.
[03:31] Not birds but still souds
[04:04] OK, winter has sounds, too

Connect with this episode:

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

The following is an edited transcript of this episode of Humans Outside.

This is the season where I am most grateful for my ears.

Last year, I did a little challenge within my challenge, leaning into my five senses over the course of several months and noting here in this podcast how I use them outside.

that was inspired by an interview I did last year with Gretchen Rubin whose most recent book is called life and five sense. It talks about what she found leaning into five senses over the course of a year. I took that experiment outside in a shorter form and explored how I felt about my senses in an outdoor environment.

A Humans Outside podcast follower recently tagged me in a post about how much she’s enjoying her sense of hearing, and I have to agree. In fact, her note inspired me to think about my own sense of hearing this week in the context of spring.

Before I saw her post, I had been delighting in the sounds of birds chirping and bird song I can hear through my window as I go to sleep in the evening. That’s a phenomenon I only experience in the spring and summer months as light grows and days grow warmer. This time of year when I go to bed and when I wake up it is light is outside. In fact, I won’t see darkness here in Alaska again until sometime in late August when one morning I’ll wake up and it won’t quite be sunrise. It’s one of my favorite things about Alaska summer.

I composed this podcast episode standing in my backyard where I was marveling at how the green grass shoots are coming up among the brown still dead lawn. I gazed at the tiny plants growing around the periphery of my yard including small devils club shoots. Devils club is a spikey big leaf plant right now in baby stages and I will most certainly be yanking it out of the ground before it gets out of control.

I also spotted the beginning of fireweed, my most favorite thing ever. It’s a green plant that produces purple flowers in the mid to late summer before it turns red in the fall, marking the oncoming winter.

As I wandered around the yard I also heard the chatter of one of our regular squirrel neighbors. It was offended by the presence of my dog Sam. I spotted it as it ran along my fence on what we call the squirrel super highway. I am glad to say that I’m confident this fella is not storing goods in my roof because last year we put up metal netting, and so I am free to simply enjoy watching its traverse and listening to its discussion about the matter.

In the trees, I heard a quiet tap, tapping as a woodpecker hopped up and down one of the trunks knocking around for some tasty bugs to enjoy. Woodpeckers tend to be small, but they are vibrant and so fun to watch it.

In the mornings and evenings, I hear the chickadees chattering and calling. I wouldn’t call myself a bird person per se. I do enjoy their songs and sounds that greet me in the morning and put me to bed at night.

I live next to high school so not all of my outer sounds are animal-based, not all of them are the hum of the breeze through the newly emerging leaves.

Instead, many of them are the sounds of kids playing. In the fall that’s football or the marching band. This time of year it’s track meets and soccer.

Recently I’ve also been hearing the sounds of construction in the what was not long ago wood behind my house. You may recall that the school district did some clear-cutting adjacent to my backyard. I hear the sound of the backhoe and dump truck, moving backward and forward as they conduct their business and, I’ll admit to being a little afraid to see what they’ve been doing.

Winter has sounds too, of course. There is the howling of the wind through the bare trees.. I can hear the tall cottonwoods and birch trees creaking as they move in the wind. When you walk outside in the winter, your feet crunch and squeak against the cold snow. And in the winter, I often notice the sound of ravens. Did you know ravens have 33 different categories of calls these huge birds talk to each other and sometimes to me from the trees or high on top of light poles. And I can can hear them moving through the sky as their wings beat against the air. There’s something imposing and startling about it.

But winter is behind us now, and there’s lots of late Alaska spring things happening here that you can hear and see, and now that it’s May we consider it basically summer despite the snow patch that remains just off my backyard. I had my monthly visit to my lakeside sit spot this week, and was surprised to see it’s now entirely open water. A month ago I was snowed on while I sat there just off that thick ice. The summer light is bright in my backyard now, and the cottonwood leaves are maybe two days from being fully out. Bad outdoor moods this time of year are usually based on not having as much time to go play as you’d like.

You can see my photos of daily outdoor play time on Humans Outside on Facebook and Instagram. And I want to see your photos, too. Tag them #humansoutside365. Until next time, we’ll see you out there.

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