It sounds like home.

I find it truly amazing how particular sounds can transport us anywhere in our memories.

Almost every day for few minutes before getting up, I just lay in bed and listen to the morning sounds: wooden floor cracks, dogs barking in excitement about their upcoming walk, wind on tree leaves, rain drops hitting the ground and the life around me calling for the day raise… I remember doing that since I was a child that has probably influenced a lot my decision to become someone who listens to the environment for a living.

As I left the freezing-cold winter of upstate New York to land on one of the hottest summers of all times in southwest Brazil, I couldn’t help noticing how different soundscapes are between my homes: the northern and southern one. For about 10 days I was back to my parent’s house, sleeping in my old bed and listing for the miscellaneous of sounds of a major tropical metropole.

While from my Syracuse home I can only occasionally hear cars and trucks passing on the streets, at my parent’s house the low-frequency sound of engines is permanent. Interestingly, although it is never gone, one can only actually realize that the constant rooring is there if one truly focus your hearing sense.

sao paulo skyline

That’s Sao Paulo, the biggest city in South America, the concrete jungle in which I was born. Yes, it’s big, yes it’s messy, but yes, I love it. Image credit: Wikipedia.

But it was the biological sounds I recognized that filled me with the sense of relaxation and belonging. Instead of crows call I hear in Syracuse, the morning chorus at my parents is composed mainly by bem-te-vis (Pitangus sulphuratus) calls and maitacas (Pionus maximiliani) screams. Whenever I hear this calls, it feels (and sounds) like home.  That and mom’s voice announcing that coffee is ready… Oh, how good it was to be home!

yellow bird sitting on tree limb

Great kiskadee, or bem-te-vi in Portuguese. Image credit: Pinterest

two green birds sitting on tree limbs

Scaly-headed parrot, or maitaca in Portuguese. Image credit: Natura Book.

How about you? Have you ever thought about the sounds that can take you home?

I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Julia Dombroski