Monday, September 13, 2010

Friday September 10th 1:00 PM

This hike was for a group of American Composers Forum Staffers who had taken some time out of their day of deadlines and heavy work to join me on the path. Among them was Craig Carnahan who is in direct charge of administering the McKnight foundation grant. It was great to finally get to share the work with them directly.

The hike started very quietly. As we hiked out, the sound of the lower water level, still trees, and sleeping birds made each sound more important. We focused mostly on water features, but I was able to listen very carefully for sounds off in the distance. This made each stop a bit more intimate and totally changed the character and pace of the hike. It was probably the quietest hike I can remember but the stillness near us stripped away layers and made the hike more about the various dronings of wind, bugs, and water that changed slowly over time.

As we returned from the turn around point at the mysterious valley, we listened closely for the drum which were in this case being manned by a couple of park staffers, Brent, the park manager, and Sarah. In one quick lesson they seemed to pick up what they needed to do immediately and even hit the drum like pro's.

As we neared the stairs to inspiration point, each drum hit seemed to wake up more and more birds which created a nice crescendo of echoing bird noises after each event. By the time we approached inspiration point itself, the valley was teeming with crows, eagles, and other small birds calling out in direct response to each hit. When the drums all finally stopped, we were left with a valley full of noise which I will not soon forget considering their silence as we walked out.

Despite us listening a bit longer to the sounds we heard, the group got out in time to return to work in St. Paul and finish out their day. A dedicated group!

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