Listen, can you hear it? The autumn grasses rustle as they gently sway in the breeze. Shh! Do you hear that gentle whooshing sound? Can you hear it increases in volume and then decreases only to increase again, incessantly like the waves of the sea? That’s the wind moving through the forest. As you slow down and become accustomed to nature’s volume the world will come alive. What do you hear? Yes, you are right. Those are a dozen of species of birds all busy in conversation: the mourning dove, the raven, the broad-tailed hummingbird, the mountain chickadee and so many others. Each of these is in dialogue about the things that matter to them. Listen again and you will hear the golden-mantled ground squirrels calling out to one another as a red-tailed hawk flies overhead. Insects are busy chirping as they seek a mate and can you hear that? A nearby stream is singing as it dances over its rocky bed. Look over there. Watch how that mule-deer bends its ears this way and that as it listens for possible predators, ready to flee at the first crack of a twig. The earth is alive with sound and the natural world relies upon it.
Then, way in the distance, begins a growing roar ever increasing in volume, like thunder that never takes a breath. The natural world is drowned out as it becomes the sole noise eclipsing the wind, birds and gurgling creeks. The animals on guard for predators are left vulnerable, conversations between creatures is stopped, the forest is at the mercy of this roar which extends for miles reaching through thick forests and vibrating off distant mountain walls. There is almost no escape from it. Nature is held hostage. Day after day and hour after hour this scenario is repeated because there exists a type of person who loves noise and brings it with them even into the heart of the wilderness. I assume that it stems from a fear of silence. To mask their own insecurity they fill the earth with sounds so loud that they never have to worry about themselves or anyone or anything within miles of their presence encountering the silence within. They roar into our national parks and wilderness areas to supposedly enjoy it, claiming to love the natural world which they so violently disrupt.
Let all who claim to love our world walk quietly. Let them slow down to nature's pace and listen. Here in the natural wild, humanity should never be the center of attention. Here we are visitors with much to learn. Here, if we are quiet and listen, we'll find another way to live and possibly even the healing of our souls.