I will never forget the moment I first heard the ice singing. On a beautiful, frosty day the sound seemed to come from no where and still it was there, a long, howling, deep sound that carried kilometres along the river.
It's not the silence that relaxes us in nature, but the soothing sounds we hear and feel when noise is left behind.
Silence is not the opposite of sound, it's the opposite of noise.
The sounds of nature, chirping birds, wind whispering in the leaves, icy rivers singing in the Fall, connect and soothe us and bring us the feeling of belonging. To hear those sounds we need quiet places.
According to acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton there are less than dozen places left in the entire US that are considered quiet. In Finland we have taken silence for granted, but also here quiet places - places were no human made sounds such as airplanes, cars or lawn movers can be heard - are getting fewer every year.
Quiet places are a national treasure we should celebrate, protect and preserve.