ERROL CASTENS: Auditory amblings



I’m weird. I like to meditate on – and occasionally write about – subjects that don’t often come up in conversation, at least among my friends. Looking-for-shapes-in-clouds or remembering-certain-images-from-long-ago kinds of musings.

A while back I wrote about some of my favorite olfactory experiences, for instance.

This week, I’ve been thinking of some sounds I most enjoy hearing – or remembering. (I’m not counting words, songs or even particular genres of music – those would be topics waayyy too wide to even begin here.)

Though there are a few clichés among them, I hope my ponderings will trigger some extra appreciating for you, too.

• flutes

• the “bob-white” of quail and the low-pitched buzz when they suddenly fly

• train horns passing miles away on a dead-still winter morning

• the combined love calls of a gazillion crickets and tree frogs

• boots crunching in snow

• thunder (both distant and near)

• babies’ laughter

• geese honking their way south in the fall

• French horns

• summer rain on a tin roof

• the buzz of hummingbirds

• the tick-tock of a wind-up grandfather clock

• purring cats

• harps

• ocean waves crunching against a rocky beach

• the two northbound clacks of the now-replaced Highway 51/Illinois Central Railroad bridge at Pickens

• roosters

• sleigh bells

• most owls (not screech owls, though)

• wind, as heard from the floor of a thick pine forest

• a ‘popping Johnny’ (antique, two-cylinder John Deere tractor)

• cowbells on actual cows (not so much in a stadium – sorry, Alma Mater)

• the near-complete silence of most Mississippi snowfalls

• the unique timbre of my dad’s propane-powered Massey Harris 50 tractor

• the popcorn-like patter of bugs on windshield driving through the Delta on a muggy summer night

• English horns, oboes and bassoons

• kittens’ mewing

• bullfrogs

• the distinct, identifiable sound of each of the 20 doors in my ancestral home

• church bells

• mourning doves

• the “pop-psssshh” of a Diet Coke can being opened

• fountains, rippling streams and waterfalls

• the whir of a ceiling fan

• ah-oo-ga horns

• a horse’s whinny

• contented sighs

• cellos

• whippoorwills

• pecans falling on a tin roof

• woodpeckers hammering in a nearby forest

• the scratching of a hoe against garden soil

• the “skritch-skritch” of a steel (not plastic) leaf rake

• wrens

• the comforting, corrective growl of a rumble strip

• hens’ contented clucking

• a maul clean-splitting a firewood billet

• the periodic thump of an old-fashioned percolator

• the flapping of sheets on a clothesline

• meadowlarks

Errol Castens is a reporter for the Daily Journal and the Oxford Citizen. Contact him at (662) 816-1282 or

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