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Create a routine of sound – Emma Haigh

A cappella choir member & Senior Producer for Creamer & Co., living in Surrey

We are a family that gains solace and security from routine. After the initial upheaval following lockdown, we quickly found new ones – we both walk the dog first thing in the morning; we often have a coffee break together mid-morning, in between the onslaught of online meetings and calls.

But what struck me recently is the routine of sound we have both developed; my husband listens to the same music at the same times of day – ambient Scandi stuff during the morning and Clair de Lune in the evening (before it breaks in to the cake-walk) with Café del Mar over weekend sundowners in the garden.

Music has long played a part in my day, too. When working from home over the past eight or so years I have nearly always had the radio accompanying me. But now that’s changed. 

For me the outdoors has become my audible routine. I have never been so aware of bird song as I am now. We’re lucky to live in a small village, where there’s virtually no traffic noise apart from the odd delivery van, and little else to interrupt the tranquillity other than the gentle roll of a child’s scooter or a barking dog. That leaves space in the audible landscape for a symphony of bird song: blackbirds, blue tits, robins and charms of goldfinch create the string section bedrock, with woodpeckers adding percussion. And at night the distant woodwind of hooting owls takes over.

I hear birds through my study window whilst working, and at weekends I routinely laze around on the grass just listening to their song. It helps me to be in the moment – a rare thing for my always on, busy mind. 

Their music, their existence, gives me total reassurance that whatever is going on in my day, or whatever is going on in the world, actually, all is well.