I spent a happy hour sitting on our lanai after dinner one night last week. I dipped in and out of my book, but mostly I listened to the birds, trying to identify the different species I saw and heard (I’m terrible at this but enjoy it anyway). A frog’s voice pulsed from somewhere to my left. My dog occasionally announced her presence to the world by randomly barking at nothing in particular. A squirrel jumped onto the screen enclosure with a soft thunk, a couple of people jogged by on the trail. A hawk perched on the limb of an oak, rubbing his (or her) beak against the bark. The insects began an evening chorus.
I noticed that when I stop to listen, the quiet evening is full of small clicks and chirps and rustlings. Noticing them and trying to figure out what they are gave me deep pleasure.
I’ve noticed, too, that when I slow down the pace of my everyday activities, I observe so many details I might have otherwise missed: the way the morning light glows in my bedroom when I open the blinds, the smell of brewing coffee and of the gardenias on my desk, the taste of strawberries and the spacecraft-taking-off-for-Mars clatter of the washing machine. These little details make up the real “fabric of our lives” (with apologies to the cotton industry) and too often I’m oblivious to them. I think I’ll make sitting outside after dinner a regular practice. I can always learn to listen better.
What do you notice when you listen?