On Tuesday, I check into the hospital for knee replacement surgery and my stress levels are rising as I try to finish up at work, get my house and life prepped, go to myriad medical appointments, shop, see friends. Ah…I’m getting breathless just typing all that. Life these days is all about doing and distracting.
I haven’t been spending enough time simply listening to the world around me.
Sunday afternoon. I’m on the back porch, ceiling fan spinning, grackles noisily doing what grackles do, adult voices and kid voices from next door, breeze in the trees.
Silence. Listening. On Twitter earlier this week, a quote from Wendell Berry arrived like a small gift: “Make a poem that does not disturb the silence from which it came.”
I imagine words dropping into a pool, sending out ripples, sinking, disappearing.
A couple of weeks ago, Robert Macfarlane asked: “What is the place or landscape to which you most love listening?”
I immediately thought of Maine, the cottage on Back Cove where my sister and I went for a couple of years, early morning light, distant boat motors, bird call, occasional plop and ripple of water as acorns fell or birds dived for fish.
Or Pemaquid Point, with waves crashing against rocks and gulls calling.
Or here, now, the porch, the trees, the kids, the birds, the cat crying from inside the house, the dog in the distance, sounds of a summer afternoon.
Listen to the small sounds, I tell myself, the here sounds, now sounds, inner and outer sounds.
Be silent, listen, breathe.
Be. Listen. Breathe.