So, reading this passage sort of blew my mind:
From the sound of the water alone I've learned to distinguish the age of a tumbling stream. Older flows, such as those in Appalachia that escaped the last glaciation, have been tuning themselves for many thousands of years. Their watercourses and stony beds, smoothed to paths of least resistance by the ageless cycles of torrents and floods, sing differently. To my ears, they're quieter, more musical, more eloquent. Youthful streams, with their newly exposed and angular, unsmoothed rocks, push the water aside brashly, with a resulting clatter. (p 23; One Square Inch Of Silence)
A stream as music, literally! Oh sure, we've all heard that said poetically, but who among us have ever listened to a stream close enough to understand the water as tuning itself to the hillside, singing a duet of mountain and water? The passage continues:
In all cases, the rocks are the notes. I sometimes attempt to tune a stream by repositioning a few prominent rocks, listening for the subtle changes in sound. (p 23)
I've done this before, as a child making little dams and rockwalls in streams, and have myself noticed the way the sound changes. How could it not? Of course, our additions and subtractions to the stream are more intrusive than anything, and are probably quickly erased as the river finds it's own harmony. But it's fun, at any rate, to read that the music of running water is also reality, that the poetry applies directly. It makes me want to go sit down by a stream and hear the world sing.