The Dawn Chorus
The sky starts lightening before 5am in Olympic National Park and the birds are there for it. First, it’s the Dark-eyed Junco, then the Pacific Wren, followed shortly by an American Robin. I’d like to sleep in. This is a vacation after all, but my recent obsession with learning to ID bird calls is getting the best of me. Plus there are a lot of birds in the Pacific Northwest that aren’t in California.
I roll over and find my phone so I can activate the Merlin Bird Sound ID and hold it up in the tent. But I didn’t need an app to tell me how amazing the sound was: a chorus of whirs and chirps, buzzes, peeps and trills. Music.
I forget I like sleeping in the woods. As we set out on this latest road-tripping/family visiting/occasional gigging excursion across the Pacific Northwest/Western States I questioned our decision to camp for much of it. But then we got into the Redwoods and I remembered. The calm and the hush, the solidness of the ground, how much oxygen there is to breathe in a forest, how many birds are out there, singing away.
Getting out in general, seeing more of the country as much as hearing different soundscapes, has been a helpful contradiction to the news cycle. As muddled and noisy as the world is right now, so much beauty and goodness is still out there.
We camped near a hot springs on our first night at Olympic National Park. In the morning, after the dawn chorus settled into a background hum of Stellar’s Jay squawks and Robin whistles, we walked ten minutes down the trail to the Sol Duc resort. It was early, and the three hot pools weren’t so crowded. For a moment, up to my neck in steaming mineral springs, looking up at the trees, all seemed right with the world.