I try to live in a way that sees unlimited potential regardless of any number of factors. But currently there are several things going on that are making me keenly aware of personal limits. One is accepting I’m at an age where a recently discovered “dream career” is out of reach, especially when said dream involves a sense organ that is beginning to decline due to years of overuse.
I’ve been accepted to two master’s degree programs in the nearly 16 years of raising my child as a single parent, but was unable to make the logistics work no matter how much I crunched numbers or applied for loans/scholarships or plotted out 5-hour commute gymnastics, or considered relocation. Sometimes decisions come down to a tear between what a person wants to believe is possible (anything) and what is in front of them for the best possible outcome for all people involved.
I’ll never forget a high school career counselor asking me what the heck I thought I would do with a double degree in music and biology. He suggested, “Maybe you could create music for TV science programs?” That double degree was my dream wayyyyyyy back then. Neither college degree happened (well, a minor in music). But that’s beside the point.
The point is, my core passions and way of life have involved nature and listening for as long as I can remember. In fact, I often feel like one giant, disembodied ear roaming the earth. And had such a career called “Acoustic Ecologist” existed at the time, I would have jumped at that path.
So this week, when I encountered the work of Bernie Krause, a pioneer in bioacoustics or “soundscape ecology” and one of the 2,000 or so folks on the planet with a degree in it, I immediately set to googling where people get degrees in such a thing. Aside from sound engineers and acoustics degrees for movie/video production, as far as I can tell, Cornell in the US and several programs in the UK are where ecology-based degrees are offered. And there are several Acoustic Ecology archives available online.
Here is Bernie Krause’s site, Wild Sanctuary.
I joined Ear to The Earth to maybe someday be empowered to complete a project bringing nature sounds to those homebound or hospitalized. For years, I’ve actually been recording on my lame little camera or phone from my wanderings in nature. Case in point. If I ever win the lottery, I’d like to invest in audio equipment and record in as many national parks as possible.
It makes me happy to know people are doing this kind of soundscape work to paint the ecological picture of which humankind is a part in ways the eyes simply cannot comprehend.