I recently slowed down enough to bird watch and listen to their songs.
It seems that we live a polyrhythmic life. The combination of several patterns happening simultaneously and happening all at once. These multilayered sound effects are a part of the world around us and our own relationship with ourselves. Like the migrations of birds, our habits run deep. Mine would have me marching forward on my hike instead of pausing long enough to be with nature and her songs. Life is complex, yet deeper still are the different rhythms of how we are conditioned. How can we navigate these rhythms with awareness and agency?
The profound effect of polymetric rhythms offers harmonies, delayed pauses, and improvisational phrasing. Music has a way of merging into an active discourse of sound and cultural blending. Like music, we are flirting with non-normative weirdness and strange realities. I learned more about birds by pausing than I’ve known my entire life. We are much like musicians and instruments. We learn over time in a dualistic relational blending of sorts. Bird songs can be our teachers.
There is playfulness in polyrhythms. By enhancing our lives with song, dance, and role-playing, we can learn to be sensitive and responsive to our surroundings, like a master musician interacting with anticipation. We, too, can learn to interplay with others through improvisational skills. Making sound into music isn’t making noise. Pausing long enough to listen isn’t a waste of time. These are the acts of life with agency.