Saturday, March 21, 2009

WAG, part 4

“WAG #4: Do You Hear What I Hear?” So often, our brain filters out the sounds we hear every day, but sounds can make a story so much more concrete and help your readers feel like they’re really there in a story. This week, go out, sit and listen. (Close your eyes if that helps!) Let your attention move from the obvious sounds to the subtle ones. Try to take in the sounds you usually filter out, whether it’s voices, traffic, children, the hum of overhead lights, or whatever. Write a short description of the sounds and your experience, especially anything unexpected.

This week is an interesting challenge. Especially since the birds have returned and are particularly loud! Here goes.

I'm sitting in my garden, listening to a chorus of honking then the whirr of wings over head swooping in close to splash down on the lake's surface. The gaggle of geese have arrived for their morning coffee break. They usually come around ten in the morning and leave by noon. There are hundreds of them now-honking, flapping, splashing. The sound of their wings so close overhead raises the hairs on the back of my neck. Then the soft quack of a pair of mallards who nest at the waters edge in the spring joins in the mix. Redwing blackbirds trill. Robins call. Their wings smack as the males fight over territory. Sparrows and finches and starlings take over the woods, filling the branches with bird song. The neighbor's dog gets involved, barking and howling as a coyote pads by on nearly silent feet looking for an unsuspecting snack. Squirrels sit up in the tree, chattering at me, tossing nuts to the ground with a plop. A cardinal calls and finds it's mate. The tree branch pings as they fly off. In the far distance the sound of traffic from the highway. A train whistles by to remind me that there are humans present as well. I am not alone.

The Writers Adventure Group-WAG- is a lot of fun. If you enjoy this piece please follow on to Nixy Valentine's blog for links to other entries. If you wish to join in on the fun, Nixy has those rules as well.

Thanks to Nixy and the other WAG members for all the fun. Cheers!


Jessica said...

What a great tip! I love writing scents, but sound...don't do it as much. This is a great reminder.

Morgan Mandel said...

I have noticed more bird sounds in the mornings these days. It's a wonderful indicating that Spring is making itself known.

Morgan Mandel

Christine said...


That was a wonderful read, you're garden sounds like an inspiration spot. Sometimes no humans are a good thing, lol.

Anonymous said...

I love the way you've described the scene. Wonderful piece!

Sharon Donovan said...

I love the sound of geese on a lake. Very real setting.

Iain Martin said...

I always look forward to reading your posts, Nancy; and you didn't disappoint. I was right there with you, wondering if that coyote would get any closer and feeling immersed in an avian "stew," a veritable melting pot of wildlife.

Mickey said...

Where is that place? I'd like to go! I'm glad you didn't have the coyote eating anyone because those sounds would have made me lose my breakfast!

J. M. Strother said...

OK, line one and I'm already jealous. You have a lake!

I liked this piece a lot, though all the bird sounds were sort of bittersweet for me. Our area was hit hard by the West Nile Virus, which killed off many of our birds. They are starting to make a comeback, and I hope to soon enjoy their constant chatter again. You captured that chatter beautifully. Thanks.

Lulu said...

Nancy, this was beautiful. Differentiating between all of the different bird sounds made me pause.
They tend to all run together in my ears. Of course birds probably listen to humans and think we all sound alike as well.

What a lovely description of a lovely experience.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Thanks for the great comments! This is my back yard- we've been here for two and a half years and I'm always surprised by the variety of birds and wildlife.