Essential or Eternal Communication?

I recently read a book called The Hidden Life of Trees written by a forester, Peter Wohlleben.

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Trees have always fascinated me. I have tried becoming one with little success.

Their calm, stoic essence of being is reassuring. Trees are social beings, and they are capable of immense internal processes that not only sustain their lives, but also those of others around them.

Reading the book is like dipping into a life that we as a race can barely contemplate for as the author reminds us in the book, trees live life in the slow lane, and that is what made the reading experience refreshing. It is largely based on observations and of the forester’s study on the forests he helps to manage. Throughout the book, he cites relevant research studies that have been carried by botanists.

Trees are social beings and know that they can thrive if they look out for one another. Many interesting anecdotes dot the book such as the one with the giraffes chomping down the leaves of the acacia trees in the Savannah.

The giraffes there were feeding on umbrella thorn acacias, and the trees didn’t like this one bit. It took the acacias mere minutes to start pumping toxic substances into their leaves to rid themselves of the large herbivores.

The acacia trees that were being eaten gave off a warning gas (specifically, ethylene) that signaled to neighboring trees of the same species that a crisis was at hand. Right away, all the forewarned trees also pumped toxins into their leaves to prepare themselves. The giraffes were wise to this game and therefore moved farther away to a part of the savannah where they could find trees that were oblivious to what was going on. Or else they moved upwind.

How beautifully nature equipped the trees and giraffes for survival.

After reading about how effectively and essentially Trees communicate, I could not help comparing and contrasting our lives with those of our stoic friends. This frenzied communication lifestyle we have adapted as our own, often leads to amusing outcomes, but sometimes to questionable ones.

One morning, I set out to enjoy a leisurely week-end breakfast with the children. When the menu card says ‘Noodles’, the beaming sous chef in the home is more active than is called for. I doubt restaurant kitchens have sous chefs standing on chairs next to the chef gabbling instructions for all to hear, but our kitchen does.

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Minutes later, we clattered down with our bowls of steaming instant noodles – there is something deeply satisfying about slurping the long noodle strings noisily, and reveling in the liberating feeling of not being governed by the ticking minutes of the clock for a change.

I was doing my best to ignore the incessant modes of communication that is our bane today, but I was still interrupted with the International Phone Call.  On the call, I was given the shocking news that Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp had been vying to give me, and told to check it all immediately. Apparently, the noodles I was eating that very day had 17% lead content. 17% lead. Funny because I did not feel like I had a metal tube lodged in my intestines after eating it, nor did I feel like an old ceiling waiting to be torn down. What it meant to say of course is that there were supposedly 17 parts per million of lead in the offending food item, a claim that in itself proved to be baseless later on.

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Quote from link: http://nextdraft.com/archives/n20170310/leaky-gut-reaction/

The wrongness of the initial stories is the result of a perfect storm of three factors: Technical subject matter, a master of disinformation, and always on race to publish stories quickly. It’s yet another reminder of the Internet’s five least common words: Let me think about that.

Should we learn the art of essential communication, and develop the ability to chaff it from the demands of eternal communication? Maybe learn a lesson or two from our stoic friends.

For a quick read: https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/09/26/the-hidden-life-of-trees-peter-wohlleben/

Blame The Toxos

Every once in a while a book comes along that changes the way you fundamentally view things. I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong is one such. In the book, the author covers various types of microbes, bacteria and pathogens that we carry within ourselves or encounter in the world. A fascinating adventure awaits the reader on this microscopic journey.

The book shows us how each being is a complex symbiosis unto itself. A concept we know vaguely but appreciate deeply when we read the book.

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We have heard of parasitic infections that control the minds of hosts like rabies. Rabies makes its carriers aggressive and the only way for it to spread is by biting and scratching another being. ( Rabies is probably the basis for the myth of the werewolf.)

There is one particular type of parasite that is chilling in its tale. Toxoplasma Gondii or Toxo is a single celled organism that latches itself onto brains. It is also referred to in the TED talk linked below for further information.

Quote : Toxoplasma Gondii is a brain parasite otherwise known as Toxo. It can only sexually reproduce in a cat; if it gets into a rat, it suppresses the rodents natural fear of cats and replaces it with something more like sexual attraction. The rodent scurries towards the cats with fatal results, and T.gondii gets to complete its life cycle.

Toxo has been known to manipulate mammals. It makes rats run towards cats and offer themselves as prey just so toxo can reproduce. Classic tale of self destructive behavior, wouldn’t you agree? It is also proven that many humans play host to Toxo.

TED Talk by Ed Yong

The book led to many happy, wild conjectures such as:
(a) Could that be the reason Cat videos are so popular on You-tube? I mean, I have always wondered: Why Cat Videos? Why not hippo videos?

(b) Humans affected with Toxo also fare differently on personality tests, showing different trajectories when it comes to risk taking and pleasure seeking behaviors. Could a combination of Toxo and Dopamine releasing behaviors such as increased reliance on social media have engineered the elections?

It sounds like a weird sci-fi scenario: Toxo encourages self-destruction, dopamine clamors for fake news, and the world falls prey to single celled organisms manipulating mammals (us), while we run around like zombies thinking we have free will.

The understanding of human biology has fascinated mankind for centuries. But advances in microbiology itself is less than 200 hundred years old. Even then, our narrative surrounding the understanding has been harsh: Bacterial infections, germs, plagues, survival of the fittest. While there are numerous examples of these, the truth is that we also play host to a large number of helpful microbes and bacteria.

Theodore Rosebury, a microbiologist, wrote in 1928, during his research that:

“The knowledge that micro organisms can be helpful to man has never had much popular appeal, for men as a rule are more preoccupied with the danger that threatens their life than in the biological forces on which they depend. The history of warfare always proves more glamorous than accounts of co-operation.”

A fact so timeless that we ought to have it framed in halls of learning if it isn’t already.

P.S: Please watch the TED Talk by Ed Yong – it is only 13 minutes long.

The Wind, The Snow & The Rain – Part 1

Saying goodbye to Inyo canyon area is hard. One, it is a long drive back and heading back early is a must. Two, it is very hard to pluck oneself away and just leave. After innumerable selfies that could have been taken in our backyard, we started off towards home.  (The bulbous noses obstruct the grand mountain at the back. )

As we started driving, it was a clear day with blue skies, a few cumulus clouds specked the skies lazily.  The winds were gusty as flashed to us by the rustic freeway signs. The slight shudder of the car as it navigated the bends in the mountainous roads was indicative of the conditions outside. (As shown in the ripples in the lake below)

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All in all, it seemed like a marvelous end to wonderful trip with ghost towns, ancient forests and star gazing. We were pleased with ourselves too for another reason. There was a storm warning for 4 p.m. that evening in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and we were slated to cross by 2 p.m. – ha! Looking at the bright blue skies, one wondered whether the geological department had gotten things wrong. Could a snow storm really be on its way? Maybe in a day or two, not today.

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You needn’t doubt the geol. fellows ever again. It was as we were driving through one of the mountain passes that it started to snow mildly. Now, I am sure people who live in the snowy reaches of the earth will pooh and bah at us, but the mood in the car turned to euphoria. Watching the snow flakes drift past is a heady experience, and nothing really prepares you for the magic of it. They say every snowflake is shaped differently, but how they managed to detect and study that, I would never know. Our instinct was to stick our hands out the window and whoop with every brush of snow.

Here is the rummy thing though: If you were to take the quarter of an hour sliver in which the situation changed, you would find the first 5 minutes completely different from the second five and the third five minutes radically different from the first five.

One minute we were ooh-la-la-ing through the mountain pass wondering about the shapes of snowflakes and singing songs, the husband slightly nodding off and taking a well deserved doze in the sunny passenger seat, while I drove like a heroine in the old Indian movies singing and whooping with an inherent happiness that made the singing bearable.

The next 5-minute slot found the blue skies being masked behind fast moving clouds and the winds whipped up a flurry of snowflakes, visibility was definitely waning, and I was telling the children about the Fury of Nature, while clutching the steering wheel and leaning ahead as if clutching the steering w. in a firmer grip would somehow ground the vehicle on the slippery roads.   

The last 5 minutes slot found me unstrung: the visibility had dropped significantly, and I was prodding the husband awake. Just keep driving he said in his taking-command-of-the-situ voice. Maybe my worked up face indicated that I was planning to get out the tea kettle and find some bricks to get a fire going in the snowy lands, I don’t know. So, I nodded, ever the obedient wife, and kept going. I was a bit unnerved too that no matter how hard I clutched the steering wheel, the vehicle was behaving like reindeer after a couple of magic mushrooms: slipping, sliding, and even trying to jump every once in a while.

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reindeer jumping and sliding

Image source: http://stylingstitches.com/jolly_christmas.htm

When the car tried to jump over a piece of ice, I jammed the brakes and found that the car went sliding beautifully onward, but refused to stop. Gulp. Hit brake. Stop. All my years of driving I had been doing that, but it did not work. Positively alarmed now, I was at a loss. What were we to do? I spotted a car ahead of me pull up in the slight ascent, and I gingerly did the same. I managed to let the thing in easily and let out a loud whistle – I now understand the pressure cooker psyche. PHHHHHEEEWWWEEE helps.

I stopped my hands from shaking and looked up to find a large vehicle stop on the opposite side of the road. A bunch of folks dressed in yellow tights and matching snow boots, jumped off. Half expecting to see Curious George, I saw them manually flip a sign on the side of highway to ‘Snow Chains Required’. I had not realized up until that point that that was how the rustic highway signs worked. Illuminating, but also, how do we get the snow chains on now? We had them, and I supposed they worked.

We headed out into the harsh world with the snowflakes doing a pretty dance around us and within seconds, our coats were full of snow, our toes seemed to be missing in action, the nose turned blue, and our hands were doing something when the brain was telling it to do something else. If this was not a pickle or a jam, I don’t know what is.

Continued in Part 2

The Curious Curvy Trees

Regular readers know that I enjoy reading children’s books. Recently, I read one called, A Curvy Tree, that examines the problems of being different and lonely. In the book, a curvy tree soothes the feeling of a lonely child being teased for being different by taking its own example, and how being different saved its life, for loggers could not find a use for twisted wood, and therefore left it alone. When the girl asked whether the tree felt lonely, the curvy tree lifted her up high on its branches to show her other curvy trees in the distance all left alone by loggers, and on top of these trees were other children probably equally lonely who only need to find each other for company.

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Looking at the bristlecone forest, it seems that the Bristlecone trees, followed a similar path for survival. Hardy beings that only thrive in harsh climatic conditions, there is yet another lesson from nature in these forests: It is okay to be different.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristlecone_pine

As the car nosed its way up to the Bristlecone National Forest, I was peeking into a copy of ‘Into Thin Air’. It was snug inside the car, though the temperatures outside were steadily climbing down as the car climbed up. Reading about the Himalayan expedition to climb the Mount Everest that went awry was humbling and an apt read at high altitude.

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No amount of pictures or descriptive writing can do justice to the feeling of being among the oldest known living beings in the World.  Looking at the shapes of each of these trees, it was easy to let our imaginations run in wild directions. Each tree was shaped like a fantastic creature and one could well imagine them lending support to each other and sustaining their lives through the fury of nature and the upheavals of time. Each one probably gets themselves up every now and then and transforms their shapes, and each has a spirit of their own that lends a character to their surroundings. Maybe these are the hieroglyphics of the universe that hold answers to the questions deeper than mankind can ever think off, and we don’t yet know. Even in our wildest imaginations, we are constrained by our limited intelligence and the expanses of our problems, including those we manage to create for ourselves.

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The walk amidst the ancient bristlecone forest was our first high altitude hike as a family – The toddler son was wearing his new snow boots, and was behaving like John Muir in them. He thumped up and down exploring the hauntingly beautiful bristlecone trees, looking curious and wondering how they could be older than his grandfather. “Not just your grandfather little Dobucles, “, said his older sister in a tone of voice she uses to enlighten her lil brother of the ways of the world, “but your grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather’s….”

I let him wander on looking amused, till some gusts of wind buffeted us.  On a high mountainside, a gush of wind is enough to topple toddlers as I well know from experience. I was not even a toddler when I was blown off by the wind, I was in a respectable third grade when that happened. I injected a note of caution into the proceedings by reigning the toddler in only to have the daughter scoff that adults are paranoid. This is where ‘Into Thin Air’ helped me. I told her about how many people have gone within 300 m of the great Himalayan peak only to return because the elements would not allow them to proceed. I tried my best to describe how nature can be awe-inspiring but how in one moment we can be reduced from arrogant, competent, self sufficient humans to ones thrown about at the behest of nature. I don’t think I succeeded very much, and so nature decided on showing us herself the very next day.

Somehow, with the sun throwing brilliant purple, orange and pink patterns into the sky, the wind gently rustling the hair peeking out from under our caps, and the bristlecone trees lending an almost immutable background, the scenario of a snow storm seemed far-fetched, almost ludicrous. If this is high altitude, how bad can Everest be? seemed to be the general consensus.  That night, we bravely attempted hikes at 21,000 feet, safe in the comforts of modern housing while eating hot biriyani.

The Salons of Bodie

During our trip to the Inyo Canyon area, we got truly lucky.  Not just because of the weather (which I need to write about in a later post), but because we got to see many places that are usually closed this time of the year due to heavy snow conditions. Bodie State Park is one such. I have only visited the Inyo canyons twice so far and both times, they woke the spiritual in me. Maybe it was the sheer magnificence of nature in the area, I don’t know. Spiritual Mysticism or Spiritual Naturalism

Bodie State Park is a ghost town. A bustling, mining town a century ago, there are no more than a few hundred shacks left in a dilapidated condition in the town now. If ever one needs a humbling lesson in the ephemeral nature of our existence, the bristlecone pine forest and Bodie ghost town have it covered between themselves.

As I peered into the dust covered windows of the various buildings, a dozen observations flitted through my mind.

The apothecary seems to have catered to similar problems judging by the bottles still on display there. There was a house with dusty furnishings – a rattled bath-tub, an old kitchen. A picture on the wall said, ‘Nothing endures but change’. The school house with a steeple on its roof looked remarkably like schools do today: with wooden chairs and desks all facing the teacher up in the front. Some things don’t change even in a century, I mused.

As we meandered up and down the ghost town, we stopped to listen to the park ranger. He was giving details of life in the town at the height of its glory, and we stood there enthralled, each of us contorting a story and an image of life in those times in our head.

Bodie was a town of maybe 8,000 or 10,000 people, and they seemed to have had quite a good life. Traveling caravans had theatrical performances here, fresh octopus and seafood supplies arrived regularly from San Francisco on iced wagons. People from nearby hills trudged up to this town for a day out or for market supplies. It certainly sounded like a bustling, happening place and looking at the town in the present age was a disconcerting sensation. Hundred or two hundred years from now, would people be taking a cruise out to where we live, and saying that this used to be a bustling place too? Given the current rate of global warming, it is a very plausible scenario.

http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/critical-issues-sea-level-rise/

http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/gw-impacts-interactive/

Standing there in the town with the vastness of the Sierra Nevadas engulfing us on all sides, it seemed surreal to imagine that this very place was witness to human drama, tragedy, hope, love affairs and scandals. There was family life, culture, entertainment, education, sickness and health here. One could imagine the barber’s son eloping with the mine owners daughter or some such thing. As if the ranger had read my thoughts he said pointing down the hill to the right – this part of town had 50-60 salons too.

My mind buzzed and I asked him – “Really for a town of 10,000 people, they needed 50-60 salons? They must have been a pretty well groomed lot. And everyone had to trudge down to one part of town too.“

The ranger gave me a quizzical look, and thought of saying something but decided to let it go. “Beyond that, were the jails – you know so that area was not very respectable back in the day.”

My! I thought, not only did people have to cut across town to get a haircut, but also scout near the jails? Assuming 50% of the population were males, that is approximately 1 salon for every 100 males, and considering they probably needed a haircut once a month …. I could imagine the mothers giving out the money to the little fellows with dire warnings as to what happens if they strayed near the jails, and how they were to get a hair cut and head straight back home.

I don’t know whether pedicures and manicures were popular during the day for the women or whether their hair styles were demanding ones or simple ones.

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What about pet grooming salons? Did folks a century ago groom their pets as dearly as they do today?

It struck me how keenly these authors of historical fiction have to think. For instance, were there razors and portable blades 100 years ago, or did people have to go to the salon for everything?

I mentioned these profound revelations to the husband and he gave me a look similar to the one the ranger had given and said with a smile playing at the tip of lips, “You realize that by salon, he did not mean hair cutting salons like today, right?”

“What do you mean? Oh! “ I said my eyes widening and the husband laughed.

“Oh! You are naive!”, he said laughing, “Why else would they be clustered together like that?”

Looking around at the ghost town around me, suddenly made me realize that half the world’s cares, worries and problems were just as man-made a century ago as they are today. Some things at least don’t change.

Dodo, Dragon, Dinosaur Dis-apparitions

We just got back from the Inyo Forests nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains. This time, the mountains were explored by the children with a friend who was just the right companion for both of them. He is aged smack in between the daughter’s age and the toddler’s age, and is an amiable, interesting fellow, thereby providing ample company to both of them. The toddler son thought him a hero and the daughter found in him another quirky little brother. He was obviously pleased with this state of things, and settled down to the hero-slash-honorary-little-brother role with aplomb.

It was quiet, and the darkness in the mountains was unreal. We could see Venus glowing brightly like a torch up in the sky. Inside the car,  it was toasty and warm, and the game of Twenty Questions was thriving: it is a sophisticated game in which you think of an animal and everyone can ask questions to guess the animal you thought of.  Animals were chosen and guessed at with hilarity.

“Amma! This little bobbicles knows nothing about his animal and expects us to guess it. How can you not know whether it is a carnivore or not?” The toddler said something like, maybe it likes to eat meat, but maybe it doesn’t, I don’t know. He then laughed raucously at his sister’s disbelief. He seemed to think that these trivial things should not stop a zoo-linguist-to-be from guessing the animal. (That reminds me that I have to get down to writing a blog on how the toddler plays games.)

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His friend-slash-hero agreed and took the car for a spin with mythical creatures from shows we had never seen. As the going got tough, the rules got tougher – “Hey! Mythical creatures only restricted to Greek mythology or Harry Potter or till level 10 of Pokemon Go!”. The hero-slash-lil-bro was something of a Pokemon expert and went on about zilletoes and monekchoes or things that sounded like them, with glee.

“How about Hanuman?” asked the toddler in a matter-of-fact tone.

Before Spiderman and Batman were added to the mix, the husband and I swooped in with some impressive peacekeeping efforts that folks in the United Nations could learn from.

After several minutes of quiet, the conversation started up again with the daughter asking a question: If you could bring one animal back from extinction, which one would it be and why?

As the conversation gathered fervor, the surrounding Inyo Forests resounded with the spirits of animals long gone. Sabre tooth tigers romped along side mammoths, T-rexes chased Brontosauruses. A short pause later, dragons and phoenixes joined them too. If the conversation were being animated real-time, I’d have liked to see the reactions of the various spirits as they made their mystical apparitions from the dead.

“You do know that phoenixes and dragons are mythical creatures right? They aren’t exactly extinct because we don’t know whether they really existed, “, said the daughter laughing to split.

“Okay – then Pidgeot”

“No! pidgies and pidgeottos! Before you ask, chargats don’t count either. Pokemon Go is not the real world you know?”

I could hear the gears spinning in the boys’ brains. This was one tough game, they thought.

After an intense argument that examined the merit of mythical creatures in the extinct category, and the virtual creatures in the ethereal category, the conversation slowed down again and landed softly near the dawdling dodo birds. We waddled by them, and the daughter explained that she felt the dodo birds deserved to be back because those poor creatures were extinct purely because of man’s greed.  The children smiled as though her goodwill towards the dodo could truly summon it back from the extinct category.

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“Anyway, which animal would you bring back?”, asked the daughter.

“I want to bring back the Titanis bird.”  said the hero-slash-hon-b.

We exchanged glances. It was difficult to figure out whether there really was a bird  called Titanis which was extinct, or one that appeared in the fellow’s video games.

“Really, there is a bird called Titanis. They are so beautiful. I want to bring them back. “ He sounded so sincere that the daughter’s heart melted. It often happens this way. The daughter is a softie underneath the bossy exterior and coo-ed.

“Oh! That is so sweet. Why do you want them back?”

“So, I can take a gun and shoot them! “, said the h-s-h-b.

I wonder whether you have played ping-pong. Just when you think the ball went, back it comes to you again. Right at your face. It was a bit like that. Just when you got the sweet daughter version, an outraged cry left her lips. The sweet dodo apparitions were gone. The dragons poof-ed themselves out, and titanis was gone too.

“Oh! How could you? “ she cried, the animal activist in her flaring up.

“Why? They have beautiful feathers. “

“Exactly! So admire the birds with their feathers!”

“But if we shoot them, we can collect their feathers.”

“Why bring them back if you want to shoot them?”

“How else will we get those beautiful feathers?”

The three of them played in our car till the toddler son fell asleep in the gathering darkness as we drove up to our destination.

I am not sure whether the dodo or the titanis will want to come back if it means holding a conversation with the specimens in our car.  Maybe we should give them a choice, what do you think?

The Cry of Natural Symphonies

Regular readers of this blog know what a pesky cricket I can be when it comes to babbling about nature. If I see one of those news articles about hippos dwindling in number, I grieve.  The day I saw a ninety foot tree logged in our neighborhood, I grieved. I had seen the number of birds that roosted in the tree every evening as dusk fell, and I felt that we lost out on all that natural chitter for no good reason.

I moon about hills and flop around pictures of beautiful Mother Earth and all that in spite of negligible botanical and zoological knowledge. Ducks and Canadian Geese I will bucket as one, hippos and rhinos I draw about the same (one with a horn and one without).

I am also one for natural sounds – I like to listen to the cascading brook or the patter of the rain. I like to be able to say, “Coo! Did you hear that blue kingfisher? Easily distinguishable by that rich guttural sonic burst.” So, one can readily imagine why I picked up a book called ‘The Animal Orchestra’ by Bernie Krause. I must say the book was a revelation of sorts.

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Most of us have an idea about the damage we are wreaking on Earth. We are aware of over population, we are aware of shocking deforestation and we are aware of global warming. What this book gives us is another perspective to the problems that face Earth.

Bernie Krause is a musician who has since turned to recording the natural sounds around him. He has recorded the forest areas before and after selective logging operations, he has dipped his receivers into a coral reef to hear the natural sounds, he has recorded in the depths of the rain forest, and the great barren deserts and the frozen tundra.

I have written about Biophony before with a link to Bernie Krause’s recording on NPR before: https://nourishncherish.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/cacophony-for-biophony-socialization-for/

Recording:listen-as-a-california-forest-grows-quiet-over-time/

Birds
Birds

What Bernie Krause finds with his recordings is that the human touch affects biophony in unimaginable ways. You can hear some of his recordings at thegreatanimalorchestra.com. Even if unable to read the book, please try to listen to some of the sound tracks on the site. It makes for an enriching experience.

There are a number of passages in the book that I can go back to re-read any number of times. One such passage is the one where he refers to a beaver recording. In a remote lake in Minnesota, some wardens of the preserve, blew up a beaver dam killing most of the beaver young and females. The recording was taken later that evening, and describes the sounds of the grieving beaver male. He says that to date it is the most heart-rending sound he has ever heard made. A poignant sadness to it that the most heart-rending human music cannot even come close to.

Or of the time he describes the sonic variances between the sounds of orcas in captivity and the sounds of the pod from which the orcas were captured in the wild. The ones in the wild were always “filled with energy and vitality”. While the captive vocalizations were “palpably lethargic and slow”.

He talks off a recording he took where a logging company resorted to selective logging i.e. deliberately taking a few trees here and there so as to not disturb the ecosystem much. However, the sounds recorded before the logging operation and after have perceptibly changed. The pictures taken later show a fairly decent rebound of the wilderness, but the biophonic recordings  give us a different perspective – the more disturbing and truthful perspective. Though the area looked wild enough, the great natural symphony never bounced back.

From a BBC program titled ‘A Small Slice of Tranquillity‘: There were certain sounds such as breathing, footsteps, a heartbeat, birdsong, crickets, lapping waves, and flowing streams that people described as tranquil. Researchers demonstrated that such sounds stimulate the limbic system in the brain, resulting in the release of endorphins and a feeling of serenity. The program says that tranquillity is an elemental acoustic foundation upon which we can rest our mental processes.

By definition a tranquil area is one that is this many miles from the nearest road, away from the sonic boom of aircraft etc. In the 1960s UK had more than 40 tranquil areas, now there are less than 5.

Bernie Krause concluded that  the book on a note that I cannot help agreeing with. He says that he is asked almost at the end of every lecture what we can do to help preserve our remaining natural environments. He says: “It’s easy: leave them alone and stop the inveterate consumption of useless products that none of us need.”