Traffic in the Sky, Unnoticed

Yet another semester has quickly passed beneath our consciousness in the transient few years of our time at UVa.  Little do we know, another fleeting force is at work this springtime in Charlottesville.  While we rest at night, it discreetly flaps by our windows; indeed, the city comes alive at night.  Springtime calls for traffic in the sky as migratory birds pass by and stop to rest on our rooftops, in our trees, unseen and above our night vision.

Distractions of the modern world unfortunately prevent humans from fully being able to appreciate our feathered friends’ swift calls.  In a city such as Charlottesville, bird migration sounds are difficult to hear, as they are often overridden by the noise of cars and other city bustle.  This speaks to the mild pressures of human growth upon the natural environment; despite city movement, bird migrations remain subdued but unaltered.

More importantly, their migration calls become muted by the conscious distractions that humans wedge between nature and ourselves.  The lifestyles humans have collectively adopted prevent us from truly being able to notice the nature surrounding us.  For instance, much of our time spent in transit, whether taking a leisurely stroll walking to class, is consumed by the distractions pulling us into our handheld electronic devices.   Walking down the road, one will inevitably pass by people staring at the screens on their phones or wearing headphones while walking.  Though these practices are socially acceptable when walking outdoors, they consume the sight and hearing senses of the person distracted by his phone, and he will inevitably miss much of the natural world surrounding him.  Practices such as listening to headphones while outdoors completely detract from one’s natural experience with the world.

Hence, bird migratory calls are an unnoticed treasure.  They surround us this spring; let us remove our headphones and appreciate music of the night.

Post by Kristen Musselman