June 2016: Spurred on by audible mosaics and the dark side


June has been a strange month. Starting with hints of gloriously warm summer days to come, it ended with thunder storms and a return to the wooly jumper. We’ve been exploring landscapes. Walking Devon cliff tops on foot; cycling up the Isle of Wight’s hills to attain a viewpoint of ‘the Needles’ stunning rocky outcrops. Once there, I mostly took photos of nearby rusting metal. Perhaps there’s no accounting for taste.

The stunning coastlines we explored turned my mind again to the “Dark Side of the Lens’ film. I love the narrative – verbal and visual – of Mickey Smith’s stunning film about surfing, the outdoors and making the nephews proud.


We often end up at the sea, grabbing moments to escape the city with cameras, kites, spirits in need of refreshing. Seascapes have held a fascination for me since the my first family sailing holiday at the age of five. These moments captured on camera with diverse, strange, wild marine animals make my heart leap a little.

For 40 years, musician and naturalist Bernie Krause has been recording nature’s soundscapes, archiving the audible mosaics of coral reefs, jungles, dawn choruses. They are not just recordings; they are moments in history, as Bernie suspects that half of his recordings are unrepeatable due to species and habitat loss. Bernie puts it best, “A great silence is spreading over the natural world even as the sound of man is becoming deafening.” 

A devastating, tragic side of changing landscapes emerges from the reports of suicides amongst farmers in India because a heatwave has withered their crops. Faced with a choice between abandoning their farms for urban shanty towns or death, many tragically choose the latter. This is the very real, very current, very human impact of climate change.

Spoken word poetry is, it turns out, good for the landscape of the mind: increasing confidence, helping mental health, enabling self-expression in children and adults alike. It’s not just the act of performance. it’s the environment in which it’s done. The expression is free; the context is safe. Perhaps we all need more of this in our changing world.

This is part of a monthly series on the things that spur me on to keep going with intentional living. What has spurred you on recently?

Today’s soundtrack: Passenger // Whispers II

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