Hempton’s been on a crusade for years to highlight the sonic beauty of the natural world, and draw attention to the fact that we’re slowly letting that beauty disappear in a sea of noise pollution. Along the way, he picked up a mentor who has helped inspire him and open his ears to nature: naturalist Jon Muir. Though he’s been dead for more than 103 years, Muir has helped guide Hempton, who has walked in his steps literally and figuratively.
Muir was central to getting Yosemite set aside as the second national park, and defining our relationship with nature through his prolific writings. But Muir also left behind an under-appreciated legacy of writings about the sonic beauty of nature. His most famous quote, “the mountains are calling and I must go” hints at his love for sound.