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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Listen to the Quiet

I love being in nature, away from the crowds. I also love to travel and visit new places, and when I'm at home for more than a month or two, I get restless.

So this photograph, which I took a few years ago during an autumn hiking trip to Death Valley, reminds me of the solitude nature provides and of humankind's insignificance in the greater scheme of things. It also reminds me of why I love nature. So many people these days can't stand to be left alone with their thoughts. Either they always want to be surrounded by people, or they must have a radio or television on.

Not me. I enjoy the quiet. Sometimes I will put the radio on when I'm home, but generally my house is quiet. I mute television commercials and I have started recording my favorite television programs so I can fast-forward through the commercials. Who needs the shrill, screaming voices of commercials anyway?

I like the sound of the wind, and hearing coyotes howling. We don't have song birds where I live in the high desert, but sometimes I can hear quail and road runners, or even a cooper's hawk that has a nest in a nearby tree.

On a recent trip to South Africa, as I lay in bed in my tent, I heard the wonderful sounds of lions growling and of one or more elephants trumpeting nearby. What a treat it was to hear such sounds!

The point is, we need to listen to the quiet. How we do this is an individual choice. Some people pray, others meditate, some sit peacefully in a garden or enjoy a solo hike, while others just let their minds wander. 

Slow down, stop and listen to the quiet.