To the extent that each person can feel like a naturalist, the old excitement of the untrammeled world will be regained. I offer this as a formula of re-enchantment to invigorate poetry and myth: mysterious and little know organisms live within walking distance of where you sit.
Splendor awaits in minute proportions. -
E.O. Wilson

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What Do We Hear?

This coming week we are going to focus on how sound can help us to reconnect with Nature.  I am dazzled by how American composer Harold Shapero (born April 29, 1920) saw the connections of sound and nature:
" a great percentage of what is heard becomes submerged in the unconscious and is subject to literal recall.  If we in fact have a "tonal memory," what do the voices of our ancestors, our elders have to say to us now? What sounds do we hold in our bodies and retrieve when necessary? What sounds disturb and what sounds heal? Where do we store the tension of traffic, honking horns, or the hum of fluorescent lights? How do we receive birdsong, the leg rubbings of crickets, the water music of trout?

What do we know?  I wonder. To wonder takes time. I walk in the hills behind our home. The leaves have fallen, leaf litter, perfect for the shuffling of towhees. The supple grasses of summer have become knee-high rattles. Ridge winds shake the tiny seedheads like gourds. I hear my grandfather's voice. 
All sound requires patience; not just the ability to hear, but the capacity to listen, the awareness of mind to discern a story. A magpie flies toward me and disappears in the oak thicket. He is relentless in his cries. What does he know that I do not? What story is he telling? I love these birds, their long iridescent tail feathers, their undulations in flight. Two more magpies join him. I sit on a flat boulder to rest, pick up two stones and begin striking edges.
What I know in my bones is that I forget to take time to remember what I know. The world is holy. We are holy. All life is holy. Daily prayers are delivered on the lips of breaking waves, the whisperings of grasses, the shimmering of leaves. We are animals, living, breathing organisms engaged not only in our own evolution but the evolution of a species that has been gifted with nascence. Nascence--to come into existence; to be born; to bring forth; the process of emerging."  - from The Musical Mind

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