Monday, September 27, 2010

Listening to the Music of Nature

On a hike this weekend, I passed a hiker going in the opposite direction who was wearing ear pieces hooked to an Ipod. When I said "hi" he was so into his music that he didn't hear me.

I have listened to music in the same way, mainly on airplanes. There's nothing inherently wrong with hiking to music. Yet, I felt that he was missing another kind of music that you can only hear while walking in nature. This "music" is all around if you open your ears, and mind, to it.

What is this music of nature? It is the whispering of wind through the tree tops, the singing of a brook, the songs of birds and the chirping of insects. When walking on a carpet of pine needles, there is a soft thumping of your boots. There is also music inside of you in the rhythms of breathing.

I find nature's music compelling. It satisfies a deep longing for a connection to the earth. Albert Schweitzer recommended the concept of "reverence for life." Hearing the sounds of nature makes me aware that I am walking through a forest that is alive with so many different forms of life.

To truly hear the music of nature, you have to stop and listen. I'm always surprised at how many sounds I can hear when I'm silent and still. Listening is an important element in spirituality as well, especially in prayer. Perhaps listening to the music of nature is a form of prayer.

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