Sounds Amazing!

Have you ever stopped and consciously listened and tried to pick out all the different sounds that surround you?  So often we miss things because we are just not aware of what is around us – it kind of goes over our heads.

Sometimes, during a walk, I will stop and listen!  Standing looking across a valley one evening, I listed all the things I could hear and the list included – the wind, rustling grass, trees creaking, crickets ‘chirping’, sheep bleating, many birds but particularly the strong song of the wren, a distant tractor, children’s happy voices, gunshots, wood pigeons cooing, buzzards, the buzzing of bees and flies, cows mooing, the crowing of a cockerel, rooks with their rasping voices, a barking dog, church bells in the distant valley, and so much more.  Try it when you are next out walking.

Those who follow me will know that I am a photographer so you might think I am a visual person, and I am.  But I am also very much an audio person and I love sounds, not only music but all sounds – well, perhaps not literally all 😉 !!  Many years ago I listed some of my favourite sounds so I thought I would share some of them with you.

The sound of surf washing over shingle

On Chesil Beach in Dorset

This is such a beautiful relaxing sound, especially at the end of a long walk as the evening light settles over the coast and everyone has gone home – the time when in the words of the poet, ‘All is left to darkness and to me’.  Sitting in the solitude on one of Dorset’s shingle beaches with the gently washing surf is special.

The sound of the skylark singing on a warm summer day

To me, this is a quintessentially Dorset sound when walking the chalk uplands and it just typifies summer.  I will never forget the evening at the end of a great day when I was walking along the coast with the skylarks singing on one side of me, the surf washing gently across the shore on the other, and a fantastic sunset straight ahead of me.  Magical!  Just lay on the grass and listen to the skylarks singing.  I love it so much that I wrote a song about it once – perhaps I’ll share it one day.

The sound of children playing

What a cheerful sound this is!  Children have such a sense of wonder and adventure, it is such a shame we lose it as we get older……not that I have ever lost mine as I am still a child at heart and I deliberately try to keep my sense of wonder and passion as you will probably have sensed from my blog.  The innocence of children as they play is one of the wonders of the world.

The sound of a steam train

Firing up
The Preserved Steam Railway at Toddington

Maybe it reminds me of my youth.  We don’t see them so much now but fortunately we have enthusiasts who still run preserved steam railways like the Swanage Railway in Dorset or the Toddington Railway in the picture above.  I know they were slow and dirty but I can forgive all that for the wonderful sound they make!

I recorded one once in Wales – here’s a link.

The sound of a finely tuned bicycle wheel

This may seem a strange one but when I was younger I was a racing cyclist and I had lightweight aluminium wheels and tubular tyres on my bike and when you got up a good speed whilst racing, the wheels would just sing with the friction of the road and the air through the spokes.  It was a great sound and a great feeling……but you would probably have to be a cyclist to understand it!

Sounds that travel on a very still summer evening

This is another ‘end of walk’ favourite.  Occasionally we have those very still, balmy summer evenings and it is really great to be walking the hilltops just listening to the sounds that travel across the valley, sounds like those referred to at the top of this article – dogs barking or cows mooing in the far distance and so on.  Normally you wouldn’t notice it but sounds travel a long way in the still summer air and they have an altogether different quality.

The sound of push/pull lawn mowers

A Push/Pull Lawn Mower

Its strange how whenever you sit down in the garden for a quiet read, there’s always someone who decides to mow their lawn!  These days nearly everyone has either an electric or a motor mower, the former makes this stress inducing whine and the latter just makes a din!  The old push/pull mowers like the one in the picture above have such a lovely relaxing sound……..when the neighbours are using them of course 😉 !

The singing of the blackbird

Always the last to sing as darkness falls, and usually from a favourite perch high in the tree.  Such a beautiful sound, another summer sound which needs to be experienced whilst sitting quietly in the garden or finishing a lovely day’s walking!

The crackling of a blazing log fire

Ahhhh, winter!
A Blazing Log Fire

In the freezing cold depths of winter, there is nothing better than a blazing log fire that crackles and makes all sorts of strange patterns and pictures as you gaze at the flames.  No need for a television or music, a log fire is entertainment all by itself.  If its not in the hearth, a bonfire is equally good, or as in my garden, a chiminea!  Wonderful…….even if everything does smell of smoke after – well, I can’t smell it anyway!  When I was young, I used to take my dog Rex out for long walks and then together we would sit beside a blazing fire with the lights out and the room being lit by just the dancing flames.

The plaintive cry of the curlew

Walking through the mudflats at low tide with a myriad of different waders is fantastic, and there is no better sound than the lonely, plaintive cry of the curlew.  It sends shivers down my spine!

The sound of seagulls


Some might say this is a harsh sound but I guess they remind me of holidays long ago spent at the west country seaside or harbours.  The sound just takes me back to holiday time when I was young.

The Nightingale’s Song

We had one in our local park one year and I could lay in bed listening to his delightful singing which easily reached me through the open bedroom window. Its not a sound you hear all the time so its all the more special when you do.

A Babbling Brook

Another beautifully relaxing sound as the water seemingly chatters to itself on its journey through the meadows. If you are stressed, there is no better way of just allowing that tension to ease. I recorded a lovely brook in spring a year or two back. It was flowing through a beautiful meadow and there is a link to the video here. Have a listen.

There are so many more I could mention, certain music for instance, the sound of some people’s voices such as Richard Burton’s deep and rich tones, but these are just a few of my favourites that mean something to me.

So what are your favourite sounds?  Have you listened to what is around you recently, I mean, really listened? You see, I think if you consciously notice what is around you, in both sight and sound, life becomes much more expansive and rich, and you feel much more connected to your environment. Try it!

Thanks for visiting Time to Reflect and for reflecting with me.

Until next time.

(All words and pictures on this site are copyright of Terry Yarrow and must not be reproduced without permission)


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