Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Silence Sounds

Silence, being still and listening to silence, is overpowering on a deserted seashore. The senses are filled with rhythms of the wind and water and seabirds. Gordon Hempton, Audio Ecologist, knows all about this silence and the sounds which fill it. Today  On Being  tweeted from an interview about his "sound tracking" which I'm hoping to hear Sunday morning. He said in this interview "Silence is the think tank of the soul." I'm looking forward to getting to know his work on his website Soundtracker

Picnic Island Low Tide
Yesterday was a day to listen and to gather, figuratively and literally. During high winds and very low tides, I was able to explore the floor of the bay while gathering a variety shells--some to keep, and others to leave in place for their occupants. The deserted beach was closed to swimmers because of high bacteria counts from heavy rains and winds over the weekend. I heard the silence call and took my chances, walking far from shore, absorbing the quiet.

Cockle Shell
I walked ankle deep into the quiet water, hearing only palms beating in the winds, and the sound of my own thoughts. An island hiker acquaintance came by and showed me a coconut he'd retrieved from the bay--one-upped me! I did find this huge cockle resting in the sand, many other shells, and all the thoughts and memories I collected in the sounds of silence.

Carolina Trail
Today I spent an hour in a lifeguard stand listening to myself  sing Cockles and Muscles, an Irish folk song I learned as a child, accompanied by high tide waves, fish jumping from the water, and hungry seagulls sailing on the winds. That song carried me back to the North Carolina mountains of my childhood where hiking on a trail like this offered completely different sounds in the silence. These hills are definitely a think tank of the soul.

Forsythia Gone Wild

I've been working on a number of  North Carolina Spring studies in traditional style for several weeks. Our recent bay high winds certainly flooded me with memories of March winds whipping through tall pines and lawns covered in wild flowering shrubs. I'm so very fortunate to have both mountains and seashore to soak up sounds and vistas for inspiration in my art.

Mountain Stream

I always listen to my surroundings, to the nuances of nature's songs. A stream runs though this horse farm just outside Asheville city limits. It's marvelous to walk and listen to the land just minutes from city life. The babble of this little brook, the gentle waterfall tumbling over jagged rocks, and sounds of waves in ebb and flow are integral to my painting. These studies will be uploaded to my FAA site and painted in oils as larger works for my gallery.
Value of the "soundtracker" outing: priceless!
Value of my new Cockle shell: one new pair of New Balance walkers and another camera (dropped it again)!

I hope you, too, will enjoy Gordon Hempton's On Being interview and his movie, as tools to enrich your creative inspiration processes.

Comments are always encouraged.
If you're following interesting blogs, feel free to comment or post those links here, too. 

All the best,

Gail Kent
Gail Kent Studio

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