This morning I walked on to campus from the West Gate. Behind me, in Berkeley proper, some kind of industrial smasher beat a steady pulse around 70MM; to my right, the ventilation systems on top of the plant biology buildings hummed in an A-major chord. Somewhere, a garbage truck backed up, supplying the ninth. As I continued east, that sound curtain faded, replaced by the chirping of birds in the eucalyptus trees outside the life sciences building. Through the West Circle, the white roiling of the creek became the predominant key, and a batterie of percussion in the form of a grad student's scrappy bicycle passed me. Next to the Navy Memorial Flagpole, the sounds of the 8 o'clock carillon reached me.
At this point I ducked into the Free Speech Movement Cafe, which was extraordinarily quiet, as most students have not yet returned from break, and my day became mundane.
Truly Cage was right: listening simply and deeply is in itself a musical experience.