The other day I was playing a card game on my iPad, telling myself that I wasn’t wasting time but rather participating in an exercise to aid my memory and to increase my brain power, when an ad for an app popped up called ‘Calm’. Now normally, I hit the X in the far-right corner of the screen and carry on with my game but this particular promotion grabbed my attention. “Calm is the app for sleep, meditation and relaxation. It will help manage stress, balance moods, sleep better and refocus your attention,” the announcement boasted. This software contained sounds for rain and thunderstorms, for oceans and rivers, for crickets and frogs, wind and fire, birds, etc. and the list went on and on plus within each of these categories were subcategories.


My mind instantly went back many years ago, long before CDs or apps were even invented. Back to the days when you were really techie if you owned and knew how to operate the little cassette tape recorder. In the late 1980s, Chuck and I practised unwinding at the end of our day and getting a good night’s sleep by listening to the sounds of nature that had been captured on these little tapes. At that time, one could purchase recordings of various sounds such as babbling brooks, thunderstorms, ocean waves, rain, etc. Gift shops and other trendy little stores often had a circuit board located right beside these items so that with a push of a button you could hear small segments of each cassette. This was a great help in deciding which one was the proper fit to serve your needs. Back in the day, this was leading-edge technology. Over the months, I had added to our collection but apparently, we were missing one of nature’s greatest gifts, the wind.


“You know,” said Chuck, “there is nothing better than walking through the bush on a windy day and listening to the wind moving through the trees. God, I love that sound. What are the chances of getting a tape of that?” My mission was assigned. In the following weeks, I searched high and low for this holy grail but stores in the nearby towns and cities did not carry this particular sound of nature. The restless, wayward wind could not be found.


After explaining this failure to a very disappointed Chuck, I decided there had to be another option. Why couldn’t I make my own recording of the wind? For the next few weeks, the city of Brampton experienced a period of rather calm, uneventful weather but then one evening in October an opportunity presented itself. The wind was howling and I decided to put my little tape recorder outside for the night to catch this phenomena. Afterall, the machine would automatically shut off once the tape was full so it did not require my attention throughout the recording. Off I went to bed thinking I had quite nicely solved this problem. We would enjoy the fruits of my labour the next night.


I could hardly contain my excitement. The following night as we crawled into bed I said to Chuck, “Have I got a surprise for you tonight.” I was referring to the TAPE! We listened to the first few minutes and it was agreed upon that yes indeed, it was a lovely calming sound. We blissfully drifted off to sleep with the noise of the wind blowing all around us.


I’m not sure how long we slept but all of a sudden, the air horn of an eighteen-wheeler tractor trailer blasted right in our bedroom. As fast as a speeding bullet, two very wide-eyed people shot upright in bed and beyond. We were convinced we were sleeping in the middle of the 401. What on earth was that? After our heads were retrieved from the ceiling, our heart rates slowed down and our night clothes had been checked to verify no signs of accidents there, we realized all was well. Apparently, during the night of taping, a transport truck travelling on the highway had decided, for whatever reason, to lay on his horn for all the world to hear.


My wind recording did not manage stress, balance moods nor did it make us sleep better but it certainly got our attention. I’m not sure what happened to that tape but I do know it had a very short life. Its introduction and ending all happened on the same night.