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Sounds of the Rural Landscape

by Carol Dunn

HUERFANO — Anyone who has moved here from a city absolutely loves how quiet it is. Less traffic noise, fewer sirens, only an occasional sonic boom, and the musical sounds of crickets and coyotes. It’s peaceful. And after you’ve lived here a while, your once overwhelmed senses begin to sharpen again and become attuned to the quirky, unique sounds of rural life.

One of those unique sounds is belching. That’s a fact. If you hang around horses long enough, you will hear them belching – and that’s far better than the sound that comes from the other end. After a fun day out in the cow pasture, our dogs belch. You don’t want to be anywhere near them when they do, but they very definitely belch. Have you ever heard a chicken belch? Oh come on, did you think that chickens don’t get indigestion? They eat dirt and seeds and bugs all day long. If you did that, you’d do more than belch, believe me. And the sound a goat makes is sort of a combination of belching and croaking and bleating. Very unique.

And here all this time, maybe you thought that only people belch. Well, sure, I’ll admit people have elevated belching to an art form. For instance, when I was 22, I had a friend who could belch while reciting the entire alphabet. I am NOT kidding. I think she should have been in the Guinness Book of World Records, but I guess she at least had the good sense to not want her picture preserved in a book alongside that record for all eternity. Belching, like other bodily noises, is perfectly natural, and can be considered a compliment. In some cultures a good hearty belch after dinner shows appreciation for a delicious meal. (My house isn’t one of those places, but I’m just saying.)

So, while people are prolific belchers, we certainly didn’t corner the market on it. Do we take after the critters, or do they take after us? I saw an entire herd of cattle the other day lying down chewing their cud. Or is it cuds? Well, anyway, they were chewing something that had previously been stored in one of their many stomachs. And how do you think it got back to the chewing stage? – of course . . . by being belched. So, yes, enjoy the peace and quiet of the rural landscape. But remember, somewhere out there right now is a critter that has read this column and is trying to recite its alphabet while belching. Editors note:  Don’t believe it? Go to and do a search on Burping Goat.

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