Davyd Betchkal at Bison Gulch in Denali National Park. Courtesy Andrew Ackerman, NPS.
Davyd Betchkal is a soundscape specialist with the National Park Service in Alaska.
“I’d like to go back to Aldous Huxley. He has a book called The Art of Seeing, but I think it works just as well for hearing. He says that seeing is sensing plus perceiving. So, it’s not just enough to use your eyes alone. Likewise for hearing; it’s not just enough to use your ear. A lot of it is the perception part of it. In fact, probably the majority of hearing is the perception part of it. You use your brain. He says in that book, the more times you see something the better that you see it… Hearing’s like that too. The more you listen the better and better you hear familiar things, like flowing water for instance. Suddenly I hear lots of different parts of it: the sound of the bubble; the sound of maybe a cavity opening and closing like a bottle; sounds of the turbulence itself or the sounds of things coming off the rocks. Suddenly water becomes many sounds and not just one.”