Montnegre i El Corridor, in Barcelona, becomes the first 'Silence Park' in Spain

Listen to the silence. Or the closest thing to silence: the song of the birds at sunrise, the language of the leaves in the forest, the rumor of the water in

Montnegre i El Corridor, in Barcelona, becomes the first 'Silence Park' in Spain

Listen to the silence. Or the closest thing to silence: the song of the birds at sunrise, the language of the leaves in the forest, the rumor of the water in the streams, the cri-cri of the crickets in the dark ... the natural sounds that We insist on 'Tapar' the humans with that we call noise.

It is not enough to breathe at full lung or admire the beauty with the eyes. Total immersion in nature is only possible if it is accompanied by that auditory and sensory experience that Gordon Hempton, the American acoustic ecologist knows. Hempton went around the world looking for natural silence and now wanted to give a new dimension to him with Quiet Parks International, the organization that aspires to create a global network of calm spaces.

The first of the world's urban silence was the Yangmingshan, on the outskirts of Taipei and with the support of the Government of Taiwan, coinciding with Earth Day of 2020. Last September, the initiative came to Europe, With the recognition obtained by Hampstead Heath, the Northwest London oasis where the prodigy of forgetting is achieved that one is in the city.

The turn has now arrived at the Parc del Montnegre i the corridor, just over 50 kilometers from Barcelona, the first 'Park of Silence' of Spain. The initiative has been possible thanks to Heike Freire and his student of the upper course of green pedagogy, a postgraduate training for human development in contact with nature.

Because of its proximity to the city and the influx of visitors, Heike Freire's students decided that "Montnegre deserved" and went to action, making measurements of decibels in different points of the park and finding areas of total immersion in nature.

"I must say that this park has exceeded my expectations," said Ulf Bohman, Executive Director of Quiet Parks International, based in Sweden, during the day beat of Montnegre with which recognition for the park was celebrated at the beginning of October. "Millions of people live at one hour from here. And yet the park offers a true sense of wildlife in the middle of one of the most densely populated areas of Spain."

Ulf Bohman made symbolic delivery of the prize to the director of the park, Antoni Bombi, who advanced his intention to achieve that the Montnegre is "even more silent" and incited other parks of our geography to continue along the path of acoustic ecology and seek the Distinction of Quiet Park, which will soon be extended to the dender-Marke in Belgium, to four Stockholm parks and several spaces (still in evaluation) in Paris, New York, Toronto, Bisane and Wellington, in New Zealand.

The day of beats of Montnegre was something like an expedition to natural silence, in this space of more 15,000 hectares between two solids in the Catalan coastal mountain range. "It was an occasion to lower the exterior and inside noise that we bring ourselves from the cities and look for that fusion with the forest," says Heike Freire. "We have to relearn to relate to nature, and leave out that feeling of anxiety sometimes we moved to protected spaces."

"Just as in nature there is no garbage, because everything is recycled, there is no noise because everything is harmonized," says the pedagogue. "On the other hand, the human being, in the same way that it generates garbage, produces noises: that is, sounds that come out of that harmony and overlap above those of others, who expel them and buried them."

"Our relationship with the sounds of nature is a more and most important aspect of our relationship with Earth in general," concludes the author to educate in green and driver of the distinction of 'Park of Silence' for Montnegre I Runner. "We have to rethink that relationship with urgency."

Some 40 participants joined the immersion between alcornocales, oaks and typical Mediterranean pine trees, although in Montnegre there are also oak, chestnut trees and beech in high and humid areas. The road was gone through rituals of connection with nature and plastic, sensory and artistic proposals, until reaching the hermitage where the participants in the day had to answer the million dollar question: "What does silence mean for you?"

For all, silence is much more than the absence of sounds. Some stressed the feeling of "connection", with the same and with nature. Others highlighted the sense of "exploration" and the comforting "relaxation" that occurs when that is eliminated that we call "noise". Others finally recognized their surprise for that sudden relationship with silence "at a level that we are not used". Some and others promised to repeat the experience and invited future visitors to enjoy the Montnegre with all the senses.

Dr. Josep Mará Fericgla, spoke of the relationship between the excess noise and the cardiovascular problems and the immune system, and also the fear of being silent that we have created in our societies. The Jordi Sargatal ornithologist spoke of birds like our authentic sound teachers, because of its extreme auditory sensitivity and its ability to produce beautiful sounds that have served as inspiration to humans.

Ulf Bohman spoke there of the need to preserve "the spaces of silence and calm" that exist in the world, as part of "a more bioccentric relationship with living beings" and to cultivate our physical and psychic health. Antoni Bombi spoke of the need to incorporate "natural sound" to concepts such as biodiversity or antiquity of trees, to criteria for the assessment of protected spaces.

The counterpoint put it Marc Aegea, interpreting a work of his own and another in tribute to John Cage, who warned in his day how in "Absolute" silence was able to perceive two sounds, one acute and another serious: his nervous system and his blood Circulating. Thus, with a beam entering the rosette of the hermitage, the day of Montnegre's beatings ended, the first "Relative Park" at our wide geography. Soon there will be others.

Updated Date: 19 October 2021, 21:02

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