All Those Moments

As he sat in the rain, a dying synthetic human briefly reflected on his life, then concluded with one of the most poignant, memorable lines in cinematic history.

"All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."
— Roy Batty, Blade Runner

In a meta-moment, as I sat typing this, I recalled seeing Blade Runner in the theater in 1982, and being moved to tears by that line.

I've already documented quite a number of special moments in my memoirs. But for the most part they were the "biggies," the ones that shaped my life. There were, of course, countless others, tinier perhaps, but no less memorable.

I cycle through a number of images for my computer's desktop, and right now it happens to be my folks' summer cabin, above. And every time I gaze at it, I'm flooded with moments. Not all of them were images, and not all of them are lost... yet. In addition to a few slides, I've kept a small cache of cherished sound recordings to this day.

Surrounding the cabin were thousands of acres of trust land that would never be developed—an endless wilderness for me to explore. During the mid- to late-1970s—my high school/college years—everywhere I went I carried with me my camera and a little cassette recorder. Often I'd use my recorder to capture the signature ambience of the forest. (Please forgive the poor quality of the sound: it was by no means professional equipment.)

One day as I was out wandering about, I heard my favorite bird, the Veery, off in the distance. The Veery is a very shy bird, so when I noticed it was approaching, I turned on my recorder and froze in my tracks. Soon the bird landed on a branch directly over my head and began to sing. It was glorious!

Near the cabin was a small swamp, and in the springtime the evening air would be filled with the calls of thousands of Spring Peepers. These tiny frogs are quite sensitive to the presence of humans, and will fall silent if you approach them. So, I fired up my trusty tape recorder, placed it on the ground at the edge of the swamp, and walked away. Gradually the Peepers began calling again, producing a thrilling cacophony.

Swamps have other interesting residents, and using the same technique, I captured a grand old bullfrog.

The lake over which the cabin looked was a wonderland of sounds, and one of the more memorable was that of the Loon. The Loon has two calls, one of which is a haunting, mournful cry that echoed the length of the lake.

Loons also have an alarm cry that earned them their name, which is an almost hysterical laugh. I captured this while out in a canoe one evening.

Deep in the night one would hear owls, another haunting sound echoing through the woods.

Curiously, one of the most memorable auditory experiences of mine wasn't wildlife; it was instead simply a small airplane passing slowly by, way off in the distance. It was truly mesmerizing. Then, just a few years ago, while I was deeply engaged in music-making, I turned that sound into an experimental music track, although one would probably not refer to it as "music." I isolated and cleaned up the plane sound, and mixed it in with fresh new recordings of birds, frogs and other wildlife, plus a subtle synth pad for an added ethereal effect. I called it "Place and Time," because hearing it still takes me right back to that sunny afternoon on the lake when I was sitting quietly in a canoe and falling into a trance.

I know the sounds will have no emotional effect on you, but at least they offer a glimpse of some of the nicer bits of my life, for what it's worth—a nice change, perhaps, from all of the doom and gloom.

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