Sunday, September 5, 2010

Whitewater, Saturday September 4th 10:00

This hike started with three adults to which a family of 6 was added. I had just finished commenting on how I had not done a full adult hike yet and was looking forward to doing a hike completely silent and though the family of 6 included a few younger children, I had a hunch they could handle it. Anyways, I needed to get my mind in to listening so we stopped just before the first river crossing and did the full meditation with closed eyes. I was amazed at their patience and I think everyone really started to listen carefully.

As I was doing the meditation, I asked the group to open their ears to the larger space and listen to the sounds of planes flying overhead and trucks passing by on the highway. As if on cue a plane was flying overhead and a truck driving by suddenly burst into the sound field.

I discovered a nice spot between the first and second bridge in which two water features frame a field of tall grass containing all sorts of crickets and frogs creating a mix of cicada drones and stereophonic scintillation of the low and high water sounds. A bird with a raspy caw flew overhead and added extra punctuation to the collage as we walked on.

A runner who passed us on the second bridge was looping back when we reached the turn around point at the "mysterious valley" and broke a beautiful silence as there were no birds and wind sounds present for quite some time. It was nice to have a sound come from far down the valley, get close, and then disappear around the corner of the hill. I hope she wasn't too embarrassed. It was a nice moment.

I discovered that if I stop on the way back just after the second bridge, you can hear the iterations of the first drum literally whipping around the corner around your head. I will have to try a few more stops along the way in future hikes.

We made a few tweaks to the "drum" part of the hike which I think make their presence more effective in demonstrating the valleys character and as we climbed the stairs, we were graced with a few more big drum hits which became more and more powerful as we got farther away until they became pure reverberation and slowly faded out until we round the corner to inspiration point where the hikers get the full perspective of all three drums filling the three valleys with sound.

The kids on this hike were so well behaved and such hearty hikers I wanted to buy them iced cream. I will leave that to their parents though.

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