A Voice in the Wilderness

By: John A. Lanier

Just listening to her allows you to feel the warmth, gentleness and passion that are mirrored perfectly in her character. I’d happily listen to Janine just count to one thousand, and I enjoy it all the more when I listen to her describe the majesty of our natural world.

Thanks to commonalities in our genetic code, essentially every human being on the planet has the same basic anatomy. Two eyes, two ears, one nose, one mouth, and so on until you reach your toes. In some fundamental respects, we are all the same.

I find it remarkable, however, that within such uniformity there is nearly infinite variety. Consider the mechanics of human speech to understand what I mean. In between our mouths and our lungs is the larynx, which has two mucus membranes that stretch across it. These membranes are our vocal cords, and as air moves out from our lungs, the vocal cords open and close, causing different vibrational patterns. These vibrations create audible sounds, and the characteristics of those sounds depend on the positioning of the cords, our tongues, our mouths, and the speed and amount of air that is moving.

This incredibly intricate combination of our physiological features allows me to say “watermelon” and “astronomy” and for you to understand the difference. The exact same mechanics allow me to sing, hum, growl, laugh, cry and scream. Tiny little differences create every imaginable human sound. There is so much variety, yet uniformity as well – this is how every human being on the planet speaks.

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