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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What's in a hum ?

Grace & Hope = beautiful, HMM?

Grace & Hope = beautiful, HMM?

If you have ever spent any time near an alpaca and happen to be like myself, one of the first things you may be intrigued by is the sound they make. Not an overly boisterous noise, like a bleeting goat or sheep, more a simple, soul-soothing hum.

There are a few definititions of the word hum ranging from; to emit a continuous low sound - a blend of sounds (like traffic or a swarm of insects) which lends to definition of state of busy activity, as in traffic is just humming along, or to produce a tune without opening mouth - sometimes what I do when I forget the words to a song. So a hum isn't always a pleasant sound, if you suffer from a hum in your ear or hear a swarm of bees, or an abnormal hum from something mechanical it may be a warning sign. Likewise a hum in an alpaca herd they may be similar meanings. Yet, there is nothing quite like a happy little hum.

Alpaca crias just about come out humming. The little newborn cria makes the cutest little hum and typically it's mother seems to hum right back. This is thought to be comforting, one of the ways they identify and communicate with each other in a herd. Alpacas seem to hum when they are content, hum when they are curious, stressed, bored (ho-hum, just for the hum of it)

I recently visited an alpaca farm where they were talking about a certain mom who just must have the best milk in town because throughout her motherhood, everyone around from newborn to orphan, to even a weaned, 1-year-old wants to nurse off of her. My mind wonders if maybe the hum got out?

Maybe one day I will be able to capture an image of two of my favorite things, an alpaca and a hummingbird - that could be a hum-dinger !