Felix woke up bright and early in the morning. The sky was slightly orange as the sun made its way up. Birds were chirping and a cool breeze blew through the branches of trees. To enjoy this pleasant dawn, Felix made his way to his garden.
As he looked around, a strange sight met his eye. A blue-colored bird was hopping around the lawn with its head cocked peculiarly. Felix wondered what it was up to. And then he realized, “The bird is trying to hear something! What could be it?”
Right on cue, the bird swooped down and picked a worm out of the ground. It munched on the squiggly wiggly and flew away. Deep in thought, Felix kneeled and pressed his huge pointy ear to the ground. Being a Fleet, he had a great hearing.
And boy, he heard! He could hear rustles and thrums, chirs and chirps, and scrapes. There was a whole world in the soil! Felix knew there was only one thing to do now. He called Orak and the Mysticals.
Rubbing her sleepy eyes, Verum said, “Why have you brought us here, Felix?”
Felix described what he had experienced. He suggested, “Let’s go into the soil in Orak’s tempus machine. I’ll use a spell to make us and the machine super tiny.”
“Researchers and ecologists have known for a long time about the thriving life under the soil. Last month, sound artist and acoustic ecologist Marcus Maeder inserted a self-built noise sensor into the ground and he was in for a surprise,” said Verum with a long yawn.
“How did you know this! I was going to share the same thing,” said Felix. Verum simply nodded with a grin.
“Maeder is working on discovering sounds of biodiversity at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, Switzerland,” Felix said, further adding, “In fact, researchers counted up to 100 million life forms in just a cup of soil. Underground residents range from microscopic bacteria and fungi, pencil-dot-sized springtails and mites, to centipedes, slugs, and earthworms.
Scientists have been studying these sounds as a part of a field called soil bioacoustics or soil ecoacoustics! All these creatures are making distinct sounds but you would need Fleet ears to hear them,” chuckled Felix.
As the tempus machine floated around in the ground, the Gifted Four bumped into a centipede. A centipede is a long, thin creature that is supposed to have about 100 legs. They next met a few friendly slugs, a long inquisitive earthworm, super tiny springtails and mites, and some moles, mice, and rabbits. Every time they met a creature, Orak let out a loud cry.