“White Noise; noun. noise that contains many different sound frequencies that are equally strong, for example the noise that comes from a television or radio that is turned on but not tuned….”
(Credit: The Oxford English Dictionary)
White noise could also be a whirring fan, a hissing radiator or the thrum of traffic from a distant road. I have also read that white noise can help you to relax. It can encourage concentration which in turn can be helpful for sleep. Where adults may enjoy the soothing sounds of the gentle lap of waves, or whale song, some parents swear that by playing white noise such as everyday household appliances, perhaps a washing machine, vacuum cleaner or hairdryer, it helps to calm an unsettled baby, the sound being reminiscent of the comfort and security of the womb. (Read more here)
But what about the white noise that is surrounding us right now in nature? The buzzing bees and insects on their perpetual hunt for nectar, the ever present birds, the almost imperceptible day on day emergence of leaves on the tree, a visual white noise if you like. Ok, so maybe I am stretching the characterisation of white noise slightly to embrace other senses, not just audio, but for me, especially at this time of year, there is one form of “white noise” that stands out from all the others. It doesn’t hang around for too long either, so don’t blink or you will miss it.
It quite literally attacks all the senses (not great for hay fever sufferers like me but I am prepared to endure this one). Once you step outside you can not miss it. It is currently filling the hedgerows and trees and fluttering through the air like small flurries of snow or confetti. I am of course talking about the gorgeous blossom and wildflowers that are, for a very short period of time, gracing us with their presence.
Whether it is the fruit blossom in the orchards, the Cow Parsley and Flowering Nettle found on the verges or the Crab Apple, Hawthorn or Horse Chestnut flowers (which of course turn into those pocket sized autumnal treasures – conkers) on the trees, it is currently creating a sensory overload; Mother Nature’s white noise.
There is another, that isn’t quite with us yet. One that for me is reminiscent of al fresco dining and summer parties. The Elderflower.
“Feared by the devil. Favoured by foragers”
(Credit: The Woodland Trust visit them here for more info. on the Elder tree.)
The white blooms of the Elder, that generally appear from late May onwards can be turned into a sweet cordial that adds a touch of summer magic to a glass of sparkling wine or G&T or simply enjoyed with chilled water (flat or fizzy). You can also bake with them and make jams. Many of the hedgerows surrounding our farm and the Meadow Field are heavy with Elder, so once those blooms explode onto the scene I shall be indulging in not just the audible white noise, the buzzing of the insects in the hedgerows as I collect the elderflower heads, but also a visual, palpable, fragrant and inexorably edible summer sensory sensation!
Foot note; Please ensure that whilst exploring the hedgerows that you not only follow the current social distancing rules but that you also forage safely and responsibly. This link shares guidance on how to do this and also provides more information on the Elderflower and a few recipes you may like to try out. Enjoy.
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