After numerous trips into the target area over the last five years, I can visualize how the area might look today. A heavy blanket of snow of varying depths covers the region. Depending on area winds, the evergreen trees still retain a certain level of snow adding to the picturesque scene. A myriad of animal trails crisscross the terrain as they search for their own survival in the forest. Eat or be eaten. Or more correctly, eat and eventually be eaten. Above all, the silence of the forest in winter is a wonderful thing. In man’s absence, only the call of the raven might be heard as it communicates the aerial view to those on the forest floor. Does the presence of clear winter air give the scent-based animal world a greater sense of the cold difficulties of their winter existence? Compared with spring’s explosion of life beginning anew, the presence of beauty can’t offset the emptiness of their food supply, especially for the herbivores.
While the sound of Rock Creek is substantial through most of the year, for a creek anyways, the volume is far less in winter. A steady build-up of ice-cover muffled the sound eventually sealing most of the gurgle to be released wherever greater turbulence refuses to accept the growth of ice. Droplets attach in the most unusual places as splashes of ice begin to grow on downed branches or tumbled rocks. A few small iced-droplets grow and shape into forest jewelry, the creek showing off her best to those who chance upon the scene at the right moment.
On one particular late-summer visit to the creek, I thought I heard the sound of voices in my target area. MY target area. How dare they invade my territory with their chatter? Go find your own special place to nature-bath. Carefully following the direction of the noise, I found no one yet the sound persisted. I had found the proverbial babbling brook. There were no particular words of any language but from a distance my brain suggested it sounded like particular words. It seemed to me that the low flow of the creek over a certain grouping of creek-bed rock created the sound and I proceeded to record it on my smart phone. For a writer, the single best tool in the forest has to be the smart phone. Sights and sounds were quickly harvested for use at later times.
Recently I reviewed several recordings as I drove into the forest on the trail to Little Fish Lake covered deep in snow. The drive appears dangerous, as I know it could be, but the slow pace of caution and winter chains on a four-wheeled drive truck reduced my dangers, especially after the number of trips I’d made. While the trail and few open meadows were more suited to snowmobiles or quads, I appreciated the peace and quiet of the muffled truck.
I remind all who visit the forest that minimal noise with a minimal footprint will provide the visitor with the greatest experience. Maybe I need an electric motorcycle to improve my experience. Do they come equipped with enough storage? Does Tesla make a truck?