Listening As a Bodily Experience

“Like the pear tree, our whole body is sonified. Hearing is not only an aural sensation. In my ear canals hair bundles float enclosed in a few drops of ocean water. Rooted in a cell surface, each bundle turns flickers of high and low air pressure into nerve signals. The bundles translate fibrillating fluid into electric charge, thence to the brain. Virations arrive on many paths. Bonelets of the middle ear lever onto the eardrum. The skull’s temporal bone wraps the inner ear and shudders with sound from without and within. Cranium is a dish and a drum , mouth is a wet horn, throat and spine are passageways from the lower body. Torso is pumpkin, half seedy gut, half hollow lung gourd. Skin crawls across face and ears down to the ear canal. Earrings are antennae, poking in lost frequencies. Before awareness nerves mingle, chat and decide what will raised to consciousness: hearing is modulated by tongue taste, emotion, foot soles, hair on skin. What we perceive is the conclusion of our body conversing within a purring, stridulating world.” - David George Haskell, "The Song of Trees"