Forest Music (In Three Parts)
La Pine, Oregon, December 2020.
Residency Earth Interview with CV + JAB Stephanie Berzon
Where are we now?
John Also Bennett
We are on the edge of the Deschutes National Forest out here in La Pine, Oregon.
What do you hear here?
I’m hearing a clock ticking inside along with refrigerator hum. Outside, the wind blowing across an expanse of pines is producing a crescendo of slow filtered white noise, and a small amount of falling snow pitter patters. There are snowshoe hares bouncing around making crunching noises, and the trees occasionally creek or groan.
Wind and birds mostly… Lot’s of crows and distant highway. It’s very quiet so when you amplify the outdoors you hear all these things more clearly, as events swelling up and disappearing.
What brings you to this bioregion?
I have family (my brother) living in Northern Oregon, and we’ve decided to rent this house out here for just over a week. It’s a pandemic out there, so why not post up in the middle of the woods for a while and listen.
Is there a relationship between listening in a city to a high desert landscape?
Listening in a high desert landscape I tend to think of as an outdoor activity, and listening closely in a city, an indoor activity. Maybe that’s because that’s where I do my closer listens in those respective places. In a city, I might start listening during late evenings— hearing neighbors playing music, maybe two different radio stations wafting in from different directions if it’s summer and windows are open, and sirens. In both cases the sound of cars comes to mind— even on walks in the high desert we didn’t go so far as to be completely out of ears reach of distant highway sounds.
In the city I tend to tune out sounds without even realizing it; in a high desert landscape I tend to consciously tune into them.
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