Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Sounds of Nature

Our senses are intricately connected in a way that science cannot explain. One example of this is the sensations that we perceive through all of our senses although perhaps only one particular sense was stimulated. For example, when you hear the sound of rain what comes to mind? That's just it, something comes to mind. Upon just hearing the sound of rain through our ears, we can almost see the dark sky with its varying shades of gray extending to the horizons. You can feel the moisture in the air as the hairs on your arm raise in anticipation of the next lightning strike. Your skin is slightly moist and cool. The smell of rain is most refreshing. It smells like life. Now, what if I show you a picture of a pristine beach with its transparent blue waters, bleached white sandy beaches, and tropical shade trees? You could probably feel the sun warming your skin and the fine grains of sand between your toes. The smell of the salty ocean air fills your lungs, and the sound of the wind through palm fronds reminds you of why the beach is the ideological perfect getaway.

This reinforces the belief that deep relaxation works. In some forms of guided deep relaxation, you focus your consciousness on different body parts to elevate their relaxed state. Often times, the facilitator will have you close your eyes and picture yourself of a beach focusing on those sensations that I mentioned. All the time trying to fool your senses into feeling something that they really are not. The mind is a powerful machine. Getting back to my original thought, certain images, sounds, smells, and textures trigger sensations in our other senses. I am sure that everyone could recognize the cologne or perfume of their significant other if confronted with the choice. The same goes for looking at old year books. Try going through your high school yearbooks without feeling something. Whether it be a heart flutter at the sight of your old crush or a rise in blood pressure from seeing the dick in your freshman Geometry class.

So, I was thinking about this idea that certain senses cause a chain reaction of sensations based on familiarity with things. Specifically, I was thinking about the sounds that you hear outside. I connect the sound of the river with camping, the highway with work, and so forth. I thought about Phoenix, where I currently live. What is the 'sound' of Phoenix? I tried to think of a defining sound that would be identifiable by any other resident of the area. I couldn't come up with anything. Then last night I went for a late run. As I was finishing and walking the last couple of blocks back to our house, I turned off my iPod and listened. Nothing, just the hum of an air conditioner. But it never went away. I then tried to hear the air conditioner and it was everywhere. Nearly every house had their air conditioner running. The hum was slightly annoying and yet not entirely, like white noise. This must be the sound of Phoenix! As we are in full swing of summer, with 112+ days and nights that cool to the mid-80s the sound is with us. I guess that in the desert...it's the sound of life.

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