This is not an age of quiet. Even when the cell phone is silenced from incessant bugging beeps of digital desperation, a television program plays out our distraction on top of the convenience of appliances doing their diligence. The ever faster train of traffic going nowhere drips the day in their procession down cracked pavement highways.
It stops in storm, when a breakdown pulls us from routine and dramatically damns us to attention. Or when we pile our stuff into the SUV and drive into wilderness trying to get away from ourselves. Only, we pack the noise too.
There is something afoot in my soul this Spring in which I sit for long periods of time with minimal added sound. I do not let the TV or radio or iPhone run. I don’t speak. I let my mind rest and listen to what I might not have heard before.
The return of the wood thrush blanketing backyard with his song. Air passing through new leaves so green it’s blinding in sunshine. The rustle of wandering turkey tasting bird seed in a patch by the bird bath.
I have learned from my chihuahua army to sit on the porch and do nothing. But are we doing nothing? Society might say so. Is there space to enjoy the Earth in seasons before death? Or is it all cash monies, beauty contests, getting high, and insulting people we’ve never met on the internet?
My dogs, my books, my yoga, meditation, hiking, gardens, and such are the true riches of my life. The lessons of stillness are all there. Patience, love, forgiveness, and humble attitude can be found there.
Listening is a true skill. It’s not about being able to hear physically, it’s about receiving grace where humanity has burned the trail into black dust.