I love sound. Birds singing. The wind in the trees. Gentle music. Waves crashing. The crunch of tyres on gravel. The connection I feel when listening to another.

For the past few days I have been listening to the sounds caused by the wind. I’m beginning to notice the various gusts and their directions. As I tune in I now pick up on so many nuances I had previously been oblivious to. A very three-dimensional experience.

There are many large trees surrounding me. Last night I stood outside as the Cape Doctor, Cape Town’s South Easter wind, blew. I was fascinated about how far away I could hear new gusts blustering in, tensing up waiting for them to hit where I stood. Then noticing that the swirling arrived from more than one direction. Becoming aware how much quieter the birds are when the wind is strong.

Ah, the birds. Probably my favourite natural sound. Especially wild and garden birds. Especially when I’m outdoors. Especially early in the morning. A beautiful concert. A melody of sounds. It makes me feel alive. Connected with the world around me.

Listening – the auditory sense

I’m becoming more aware just how auditory I am. Some of my friends and family have engaged in bird watching. Ticking off the various South African (and Australian) species when they spot them. I have enjoyed hearing the thrill of their exploits and their joy in making a new or rare discovery. However, it doesn’t compel me to join in. I would rather listen.

I don’t even need to know which birds I’m listening to. It doesn’t matter to me. I just enjoy the performance. Although there was one particular early Sunday morning when I was surprised to be able to distinguish between three different types of doves’ calls. Beautiful.

I also love music. My favourite types are simple uncluttered rhythms and harmonies. Gentle jazz. Engaging blues. Lively folk. Smooth pop. Uncomplicated rock. Fun (and sometimes cheesy) funk and soul. Which reminds me of what I don’t like…

I also hate sound. Jarring harsh sound. Overly complex or discordant music. Even some of the heavier versions of my favourite genre – jazz. Any kind of cacophony. Microphones and speakers distorting. In particular the sibilance of the S sound and cymbals when poorly replicated.

It’s not necessarily the pace or the volume. I sometimes love some of the raucous stuff. It’s the discord to my ears. I’m sure to many people much of the music I dislike is energetic, sophisticated, or melodious. Sometimes it’s my context in time and space. Something I dislike on one day might bring life and joy on another.

Connecting through sound

Another sound I love is the human voice – although some more than others! The accent. The tone. The pace. The intonation. The feeling behind the words. I know they say the eyes are the windows to the soul, but for me I hear so much from listening to people. Sometimes one word from a close friend leads me to know so much about where they are at. Not for me to be presumptuous. Not to think in conclusions. but rather to bring curiosity and connection.

I love conversation. It’s my favourite way to learn. It’s my favourite way to connect. Listening is connecting. Connecting with my world. Connecting with my people. Connecting with myself.

What is your favourite way to connect with your world?

How about you? This post was written for my upcoming book – Coming to Our Senses. I would love to hear from you. What is your favourite way to connect with your world? Which of your senses delight you? Which frustrate you? Please join the conversation below…