A hand-wrapped gift for your ears

There’s something wrong with my building. Every so often, at random intervals, a little echoey bleep will be emitted from the communal corridor above my apartment.

I went to investigate it last night, but as I started to zero in, it stopped. Of course it started back up again the moment I shut my front door.

It’s irregular sounds like that that can set a person’s teeth on edge. And it’s in those moments when we need to find peace.

The minute I’m bringing you is from Terra Firma, which is NPR as all hell. It’s a podcast that explores our connection to nature through reflections and stories. Poetry from Indigenous writer C Marie Fuhrman is paired with lush soundscapes recorded by sound recordist Jacob Job. Each short episode combines words and sounds from the nature that inspired it.

I love to hear audio that feels lovingly crafted, where each episode feels like a little hand-wrapped gift. This is prime headphone listening fare, and best done when you’re not going to be disturbed or distracted by anything else.

It’s 10 minutes max of time just for you.

I want to draw your attention to an episode from March 8th. At 1:22 in my copy, you’ll hear a perfect illustration of what this podcast offers. C Marie’s gentle voice carries her beautiful words, as Jacob’s soundscape help us paint our own picture.

If you don’t have time to listen, imagine yourself at the crest of a wooded hill overlooking a gently winding river, with mist-covered mountains further out. Take a seat on a log, and listen to the wind whisper through the trees.

Now enjoy these words from a real writer:

The hillsides are green from a late winter and from heavy spring rain.

Walking the trail to get here, the balsam root air leaf with their sunflower faces made south-facing slopes golden.

When the head of a bloom turns just so, the deep center of brown becomes an eye.

Then it appears as though the entire hillside is arrow leaf-eyed, and I am peering into the heart of the Salmon River Mountains.

Whenever you’ve got a metaphorical gnat buzzing around in you brain, it’s always nice to have something in your pocket you can turn to – something to pop in your ears to give you a moment of escape. Or something to remind you of the beauty and the peace to be found in outdoor spaces.

Honourable mention

I wanted to give a shout-out to Jodi Krangle of the Audio Branding podcast. Keeping the nature theme going, I want to point you to the first in a run of three episodes about the past, present, and future of sonic warfare.

She explores tactics used by sperm whales and tiger moths, and reaches all the way back to the Bronze Age via World War II to uncover how humans have been using sound to set our minds and our pulses racing.


Until next week, keep listening, and I’ll do the same.

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