Over the last few week I have heard the new spring sounds of my neighborhood. The pond frogs have awakened from their winter nap and started evening serenades. Migrating birds are announcing their return from winter havens, others have begun their spring songs. Meanwhile the pileated woodpecker continues his hammering for lunch. While winter can bring silence to the backyard, spring explodes in song. Sitting next to the heat of a crackling fire, I took in the sounds. It wasn’t silent, however it WAS quiet. I was hearing the presence of everything.
There is a new voice I would like to introduce to you this week: Gordon Hempton. Gordon is an “acoustic ecologist,” who studies sound and how noise impedes on silence. Krista Tippett comments, “He defines real quiet as presence – not an absence of sound, but an absence of noise.” “Noise” is anything one can hear that is man-made. For me this phrase describes what Gordon Hempton is all about. Most importantly, he talks about how in our present day society, quiet is nearing extinction.
I like Gordon’s definition, “not an absence of sound, but an absence of noise,” especially when I think of what I desire for my soul: sound, not noise. I want to hear what is there, beyond the monkey mind chatter, so that I can be present to me. I want to hear past the noise of my mind, and settle into the quiet. When I can offer presence to my own self, without agenda, I am able be present to others in a greater way.
Here are a few links to Gordon’s work. You can invest anywhere from 5 min to several hours if you read his writing. I invite you to listen, if not to his words, to the sounds he records. Allow them to touch your soul and listen beyond your busy mind to the deep place they touch.
http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/recording-the-sounds-of-natures-quietest-places/ – This is a short report aired 4/23/17 by CBS Sunday morning.
https://onbeing.org/programs/gordon-hempton-silence-and-the-presence-of-everything/ – One hour interview by Krista Tippett – On Being.
https://www.amazon.com/One-Square-Inch-Silence-Preserve/dp/1416559108/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1493052269&sr=8-2&keywords=gordon+hempton – Gordon’s book. (It is a deal for your Kindle J )
http://www.soundtracker.com/ – Gordon’s website
Create the week you want,
Photo: Andrea Tatley, Whidbey Island, Washington