Reader, come with me in your imagination and enter the Belair National Park early on a summer's day with a loved dog padding along by your side. The wind caresses the gum trees like the hiss of the sea, there is the grating call of the Wattle bird, the carolling of Magpies, the screech of Black Cockatoos, distant birdsong and maybe even the grunt of a Koala. For a human being this is the perfect soundscape and also restful for the whole person, being in nature, the subtle palate of colours and too early to require sun glasses. Vigilance it is true, is required for sleeping brown-snakes but all in all such a pleasure and a privilege to live nearby such a special place.
Why is it then when the soundscape is perfect - since in our ancestral memory birds singing suggest no predator is nearby, and the wind is not so strong that it upsets our equilibrium, - that other human beings walk with eyes to the ground or jogging with headphones or ear buds firmly attached. A friendly greeting receives no reciprocal smile and greeting because these people do not hear anything apart from their music.
Granted when sitting in an aircraft, or driving a car or in a noisy place like the gym I stuff in ear plugs to protect my hearing and to lessen tiredness from the low drone of engines, but in a natural place why do others shut out the natural world? This makes no sense although I imagine people listen to music they love but distraction by nature if one slows scans through sounds, feelings and visual clues, not to mention smells can be a life giving meditation that moves the being away from the internal noise. In fact the perfect soundscape is like a full sensual experience cleansing what William Blake called 'the doors of perception' from the pollution of noise and other over stimulation that is so dehumanising.