Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sunday August 15th 10:00 AM

Another Great morning hike. A couple from Minneapolis who were both writers as well. And with the water levels and water features caused by earlier rains receding a bit, there were even more moments of poetically rhythmic patterns emerging from these places. More and More I really fell musical rhythms coming out of them and the young woman on the tour even pointed out a type of poetic meter (the name of which I can't remember of course) that was occurring in the waterfalls under the bridge.

Everyone hears differently and this hike really re-confirmed an earlier notion I had about this hike that the actual "music" of the Song Path is created in the head of each individual listener depending on their specific way of hearing and interpreting each sound in relation to the other sounds. I also have noticed the extreme differences that are made in sound environment when the head is moved even a little bit in relation to certain features. This group was extremely verbal after the hike and described many things that I was not specifically hearing at the time but I immediately knew what they were talking about based on their description of these moments. Very multi-dimensional.

The winds played beautifully through the trees on this hike and at times in the beginning after getting away from the river I felt like we were listening to the hike in headphones as the winds enveloped us in their sound. The drum was also effective here and as the river had receded a bit further, the sounds of water lapping against the sandstone continued to follow us from the stone cutter shed to the powerhouse. The sound of the drum seemed to emerge from these low river sounds and it created a beautiful transition which I felt expressed maybe even something a bit metaphorical about the dual nature of the park as a natural site as well as one forged by the will of human enterprise.


  1. We were very moved and inspired by our song path experience with you Ryan--thank you! The meter I heard in the waterfalls under the bridge was a trochee: "A metrical foot consisting of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable, as in 'river,' or of a long syllable followed by a short syllable." The word "trochee" itself is actually trochaic, which is a good way to remember it. For me it was like the sound of the balance between opposites. I would guess the meter changes depending on time of day, water levels, all the weather variables. It was very beautiful to hear this language, and to imagine it possible that original human speech took cues from the sonic rhythms of nature. We appreciated the absence of human language throughout the composition as it attuned us to the textures and inflections of the discourse among the non-humans around us.

    I was amazed to distinguish high and low pitches in the wind, and the river; to hear notes as if at the tip of my hearing that, though not corresponding to a recognizable key, constituted musical sound.

    When I concentrated on differentiating the way sound happened in each ear, the event became almost synesthetic: I heard and envisioned sound flowing--as if mimicking the river--from the exterior world into the tunnel of my hearing. Similarly, I imagined the sonic layers comprising the soundscape as a spiral against which the variable or unstable sounds--like bird cries or insects--appeared randomly kind of like shooting stars.

    I had a thought that trees make sound more gentle, manifested in creeks and springs and moss, for example, as prominent forest features; the trees both filter and acoustically enclose.

    My favorite sounds occurred at the dripping walls.

    The drum's gradual entrance into the composition felt very organic, but at the same time seemed to represent the human intervention, almost symbolic of anger or combat ("Man against Nature," e.g.), and its station inside the ruins of the stonecutter building poetically captured this metaphoric frustration--especially when the drum began to interact with the clap/stomp.

    For me, the composition was both meditation and performance art, modeling the penetrating attention required to scan the farther shores of consciousness, and was as such consciousness expanding.

    Thank you! We hope to return.

    Sarah Fox & John Colburn

  2. Thanks for the great comment. I do hope if you create something based on your experience that you will post it here so I can read it or e-mail it to me at waldtiere@gmail.com

    Thanks again for coming!