Inside a Kaleidoscope of Sound

27 Oct

by Maribel Steel

Sitting on the veranda listening to the natural music of the Australian bush, I ponder how to write a post about the sounds we heard in the ancient stones of France. I close my eyes and allow my ears to see the world in front of me and realise why I get so excited about the sound of music in nature.

As humans, we cannot reproduce sincerely the sound of a gust of wind through the tops of trees, the chandelier quality of birds trilling, lizards scooting around leaf litter, extroverted frogs croaking with impeccable rhythm, soothing water playing over rocks in creeks, the crashing thud of a dead tree giving

up the ghost as it falls to the forest floor, dashing busy bees, or impatient flies. All that whirring, whooshing, the creaks and groans, the trills and other sounds add significant ‘sonic-colour’ to the landscape.

Man has learned how to reproduce the colours of the rainbow in the fabrics we wear, in the paints we put onto canvas to imitate Nature’s beauty – but give me a symphony of sound any day rather than a palate of colours, for in the hearing, I see more than I can see with eyes wide open. With eyes closed, skin and hair follicles also become part of the world of interpretation. And so, with my limited tunnel vision, I find life to be a constant surprise as objects jump out in front of my blinkered visual scope and if it were not for a heightened sense of hearing to warn me of sudden changes, I would possibly be a nervous little rabbit stunned by the bright headlights of life.

Living in a hectic city, each time I venture out the front door, along with my purse, my cane and coat I take my alert senses which have been honed to expect the unexpected, even more so when travelling through a foreign country. My brain switches into detective mode, gathering zillions of clues from the other senses all clamouring to offer a flurry of interpretation while at the same time, my sighted guides, Harry and Mike, are painting postcards on the canvas of my imagination.

But where I can really excel without the need to see is when I listen to the landscape, when I hear the sound within ancient stones. One of the extraordinary surprises we discovered on our tour through southern France was the deep resonance within century old stone churches, medieval castles and handmade brick wine vaults.

It is the ancient sweet textured space within three very special locations that calls our hearts forth to sing. Our voices glide with improvised notes, searching for echoes in and around small gaps as if we are sifting through the ruins of sound.

The full account can be read at Maribel’s blog:

To venture inside the kaleidoscope of sound link to Maribel’s first youtube:

Maribel Steel is a writer, blogger, mother and singer who lives in Melbourne, Australia. As a person with Retinitis Pigmentosa, she believes her life is about learning to trust her other senses: to hear, to touch, to smell, to intuit, to love and to laugh.  To learn more about Maribel Steel visit her website:


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