The problem with headphones

I've never been one to run (or ride) with music. Maybe inside while on the trainer or treadmill, but even then, I still end up taking it off midway so I can focus on the workout. I don't like the distraction from how I am feeling and responding to the workout. And everyone has stories about headphone clad runners, hikers, and cyclists. No need to rehash the most annoying aspects of headphone use. No, the problem with headphones is the absence of experience - more in tune with the tunes then anything else.

With music blaring, you miss the little things. The soft hooting of an owl in the tree above the trail. The mournful "whowhoo" from a hidden figure calling to the fading stars or other nighttime creatures. I looked up in the tree as I ran underneath - but could not find the owl. In the predawn gloom, it was perfectly camaflauged from view.

Or the soft rustle of a buck as he steps from behind the scrub oak. He paused, antlers framed against the periwinkle dawn. A full rack, enough to attract the attention of the ladies. Then silently, he turned and vanished into the trees. I will see him again - he frequents the fields and yards near Bear Creek.

Also missed while wearing headphone - the yipping of the resident coyotes of Bear Creek. There are a few dens and I have seen the pups this year. I would have missed them if I had been engrossed in song and not the music of the wild. I have to admit - the sounds of the coyote can be nerve wracking when running alone.

And finally, the whomphing snort of a bear searching for food. I head and smelled him - and took a different way out of the neighborhood. The crash a few minutes later indicated he had found a snack. Not a healthy snack, but.... All to tempting to a hungry bear.

All this in one run. Some people migbt be tempted to go on about how the headphones break the mind body connection so vital to pure running and performance. And while that's true and another reason I don't wear headphones, it's not the whole picture. Simply put, while out in the middle if the woods or even just the open field of Bear Creek, you are surrounded by nature and all those amazing experiences waiting. Step away from the technology and revel in the sounds of the world. Or simply the sounds of silence.

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