Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Rural Sounds

Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds,
Exhilarate the spirit, and restore
The tone of languid nature.
~William Cowper


When I posted the Cowper poem last fall, Dee Ready suggested I write a post about rural sounds in the canyon. Since it's pretty quiet here in the fall and winter, I let the idea sit until now. 
In winter, silence is accompanied by the ever present sound of the wind. The wind speaks to you here, it whistles around the window frames and makes my dogs bark. 

In summer, I go to sleep to the sound of crickets and maybe the distant hoot of a train. 
In the morning, I'm greeted by a rooster across the way, his cheerful sound carried across the fields by the wind. 


A constant twitter of little birds provides background music all summer long. 

The sound of the California quail, calling their young chicks, who always seem to stray, with their famous call that I hear as: Come-On-Home is the dominant sound in the canyon this time of the year.

Bird books say it sounds like:"Chi-ca-go," but I watch them call their chicks home, so I prefer my version. It's so cute to see the little ones run toward the sound, some stragglers taking their time. It's beyond me how mom and pop can keep count. There's also the sweet sound of doves cooing in the canyon.

The ravens crow and fuss and crow some more, they are always present here. I like to listen to the sound of their powerful wings as they fly above, casting shadows ahead of me.

The loveliest sound of all comes from this bird, the Western meadowlark. He sings his joy in late spring, early summer, and does indeed exhilarate my spirit. 

Dogs barking is of course a common rural sound and it's no different here. Sometimes it's ours, sometimes a neighbor's.

Coyotes chatter at night and keep me awake, listening. It's one of the sounds of the wild here.

You don't often hear the coyotes howl, so I was very fortunate to hear this mother coyote calling her brood, right outside my window. 

It didn't take them long to come running.

The other truly wild sound in the canyon comes from this guy, the Northern Pacific rattlesnake. Hearing the rattles, always gives me chills of respect.
Sometimes I hear a donkey bray, but I only heard a cow moo once. She was left alone in the field for an afternoon, her companions moved to the ranch, and her mournful moos  could be heard throughout the neighborhood. 

Sometimes a thunderstorm rolls around the mountains. Feared because lighting can cause fires and welcome if it brings rain.

And in this dry canyon, raindrops falling on our roof may well be the sweetest sound of all.


  1. this was a really nice post. felt like i was there, hearing it all.

  2. What a wonderful post. I loved seeing the pictures and reading about the sounds you hear. Mr. Meadowlark is my favorite. I love it when he sits atop a tree, or on a fencepost and serenades me, making me smile every time!
    Your quail shots and coyote shots are super!

  3. That was great love the post.Sometimes the best sounds are the nature sounds.

  4. Great post, Inger! I loved it and identified with it as well. You have great pictures to go with the descriptions, too. Very well done!

  5. A really great post Inger. I have some of the same sounds here in the country, but not all. The crying sounds of coyotes is one sound that will keep me up at night.

  6. Although I've been told there are coyotes here (I've seen their scat), I haven't seen any. I'm hoping that's because of the dogs. You described your sounds well, Inger!!!...:)JP

  7. Oh, I have heard so many of those sounds. I am happy to say, not the rattlesnake, however... But here, when it snows, it's oddly quiet, but if it gets cold enough, it sounds like someone is dropping small bits of glass, almost a tinkling sound. I have heard coyote here lots of times, but have only seen them twice. I think the dogs locally make them a bit shy...


  8. I really love those images with snow, kind of helped cool me off a little with all of the heat we are receiving in the Lancaster,Pa area again. Richard

  9. Wonderful post Inger! You are very well-tuned into your surroundings. I would love to hear that Meadowlark.

  10. That is a wonderful post, Inger. I can certainly "visualize" all those creatures, making their own kind of music (so to speak). We were on the trail of some Western Meadowlarks recently, too.

    Wind, train, Coyotes, Ravens, rainstorms. The sounds of the world; the chords of the country.


  11. Your pictures are breathtaking, and your descriptions do them justice. A beautiful post... almost as good as being there.

  12. Oh vad fina bilder i detta inlägget. Den gula fågeln verkar ju fin. Tänk att du har coyotes så nära ditt hem...ja vi har ju vargar i en del län i Sverige som är närgångna.
    Samson är ju för söt.
    Kram från Sverige!

  13. Amazing. All I can hear is traffic most of the time.

  14. Such a magical post! Tonight after all of the kids go to sleep, I'm going to open my window and just listen :)

  15. Dee Ready has some powerful good ideas! Your descriptions have brought the canyon alive. I don't think I have ever seen or heard a western meadowlark -- until a few minutes ago when I found a clip of one singing on YouTube. I can only imagine how amazing it must be to hear echoed around the canyon. Great post, Inger!

  16. Lovely post, Inger -- love how you described each season. :)

  17. Dear Inger, what a lovely and lyrical post this is. You capture the sounds of the desert for us and then enhance those sounds with your evocative photographs. I so like the one of the California quails crossing the road as well a the thunder clouds gathering. Did you take that picture of the rattle snake? You were so close. Weren't you afraid?

    NOw I'm headed to You tube so hear that meadowlark that the Broad found.

    Thank you for this wonderful posting. Peace.


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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