The Sounds of Spring
I have always been comforted by sound. This time of year, it is especially alluring. Last night, I came home and stood outside for quite a long time listening to the sound of the birds and the haunting sound of the peepers from the pond across the road. I even took out my phone and recorded it so I could listen again later. As I stood there, I could hear turkeys, the returning geese, the variety of frogs and insects and the symphony of birds. It reminded me that I used to bring my children and grandchildren outside at dusk to listen. "How many different sounds can you hear?" I would ask them. I would also point out the more obvious ones, but I wanted them to pick out all fo the differences for themselves. If they said, "I hear birds," I would ask, "What kind of bird sound?"
I think it's easy to forget that there is music all around us, and not only in nature. I once had a couple of friends in a band that played "Industrial Noise." There is music in the sound of traffic, in the airplanes and jets flying by, in the sirens and even in the voices of the people in the cities. How often do we notice that constant music? We want our children to be aware of their surroundings, so why not point out the sounds as well as the sights. And, while we're at it, why not the smells? I remember taking my spice jars and holding them up to my babies noses so they could have that sensory experience. I always have hyacinths in my house in the springtime so their amazing aroma fills my environment. There are books with different textures for babies to feel, even scratch and sniff books, and there are books that have noises to go with them. That's because the authors recognize that children thrive on a variety of experiences. They are like sponges soaking up every experience and learning every moment.
When you go for a walk with your children, whether in the city, suburb or out in the country, point out the sights, smells and sounds. They will quickly catch on and start pointing them out to you. I've often found that the kids I'm with, who are used to doing that, find new things before I do and revel in sharing them with me. Some of the sounds only last for a short while in the spring, so be sure to go out and enjoy these wonderful discoveries while you can.
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