Di Brandt in Now You Care provides a note at the bottom of a poem filled with natural wonders and declares that humans are “mere grace notes” in the symphony of sound that surrounds us. Humbling attitude grounded in the following observation:
“On some sophisticated machine he slowed down the hummingbird songs until they were almost a set of subsonic twinklings … For days on end, pods upon pods of whales of every kind came rolling in, breaching and blowing along side the ship, diving and gathering around the underwater speakers, chattering, hooting and cooing in courteous, measured replies between the hummingbirds’ phrases. Slightly chagrined, the elated ship’s research personnel recorded the whales’ exuberant conversation and after speeding them up found themselves listening to some very ornate hummingbird songs!” Martín Prechtel, The Disobedience of the Daughter of the Sun: Ecstasy and Time
David Rothenberg reflects on tail sounds of hummingbirds http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/08/a-hummingbirds-musical-tail/?_r=0
Yet that rise and fall is not an unfamiliar pleasure in the animal world. It sounds almost exactly like the song of the bowhead whale, a rarely encountered denizen of arctic seas. Why such sonic parallels between species way far apart on the tree of evolution? There may be more to animal aesthetics than arbitrariness…
Would such research make us humans the Great Listeners?
And so for day 1572