Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sounds Overheard: Listening To A Lunar Eclipse

While camping in the Florida Keys last month during the total lunar eclipse, I actually set my alarm for the middle of the night so I wouldn’t miss a rare astronomical event. What an amazing sight, the moon was a dull orange, the nearly black sky allowed millions of stars to pop into sight above the tropical button wood and gumbo limbo trees at Bahia Honda State Park.

Take a minute and a half from your hectic day, put on a pair of headphones or ear buds, and listen: first, gentle waves on the sand, then soft splashes and bubbles in a rocky tide pool, and finally a lone cricket rhythmically chirping above the distant waves.

I imagined I was looking up at the same disappearing moon just as my ancestors had, possibly from the entrance to their cave, the campfire long burned down, their bellies full of mastodon. I wondered if they were frightened at this unexpected sight?  Were they frightened by the sounds coming from the darkened woods? A saber tooth tiger roar, a hissing volcano?

My ears could only hear the ocean gently lapping on the beach a few yards away, the crickets chirping in the underbrush ... did Cave Man Tom hear these same sounds?

Water, crickets, sound, oh my, why was I daydreaming when I could be recording these wonderful sounds? At 3 AM I snapped back to 2010, pulled out my recorder and microphone, and had a great time capturing sounds under that big orange moon.

During my assignments and travels I've been recording the sounds I overhear, and many don't have supporting photographs or stories. This occasional series will be my excuse to share my audio orphans, these Sounds Overheard.

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