posted September 02 2022 by Jord
The sound of nature
When was the last time you were out and about in nature? What did you hear, and how did it make you feel? The sounds of nature are diverse, astonishing, fascinating – and they're even good for your health.
When you think of the sound of nature, you probably envision the sound of singing birds in a luscious forest, a babbling brook in the mountains, howling wind and rustling reeds, waves crashing on rocks, the pitter-patter of falling raindrops or the chirping of grasshoppers on a hot summer night. Nature has a hefty oeuvre. Even when you think you have found complete silence in nature, you'll always hear her.
But have you ever thought about what you actually hear? Take those singing birds, for example. They make tons of different sounds: chirps, rattles, whistles, trills, croaks, drumming, and many more. Quite a number of bird species are named after the sound they make. These names are onomatopoeic. The chiffchaff, the grey go-away-bird (yes, really), peabody, peewit and the bobolink all sound exactly like their names. And while these are just examples of the English language, each language has its own onomatopoeia.
Beneath bird territory, hidden away in the grass, you'll find grasshoppers singing their songs. Especially during sunset and at night, after a long, hot, sun-drenched day, these tiny creatures put on a hell of a performance. Most grasshoppers make their characteristic chirping sound by rasping tiny, file-like pegs on their hind legs against the prominent veins running along the fore wing. Other species rub their wings together. And there is an enormous variety between species. Some grasshoppers sound like a big, fat bluebottle, whereas others remind of a hard rattle.
Did you know that nature sounds are beneficial for your health? Natural sounds and green environments have been linked with relaxation and well-being for hundreds of years, but recent studies have discovered that there are more health benefits. A group of American researchers found that listening to natural noises leads to a decrease in stress and pain, an improvement in cognitive performance and enhanced mood. They may even decrease pain! In fact, certain sounds are claimed to bring about specific benefits. For example, the study revealed that bird sounds had the largest effect on lowering stress and annoyance.
Maybe you don't have the luxury of being near nature every day. Maybe you live in the city with a small balcony instead of a luscious garden, and spend most of your days inside the bullpen. But wory not: the abovementioned health benefits can also simply be established by listening to a nature playlist. And when you get off work on a Friday afternoon and sit yourself down with an ice cold beer on one of the crowded terraces in the city, you might notice that nature is closer than you'd think. Through the buzzing of a bumble bee, the cooing of pigeons and the squawking of seagulls on the hunt for food: nature finds its way through the concrete jungle. It may not be quite the same as walking through a luscious forest, but at least you'll have your ice cold glass of beer.
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