Why listen to the wild?

“Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore

As a child, I used to climb the huge white pine tree next to our home. I’d cling to the trunk like a little girl barnacle as the wind blew and the tree swayed. I was convinced tree and sky were telling each other stories and if I just listened closely enough, I’d be able to hear the stories, too. The mystery of their more-than-human conversations nourished my child imagination and eased the ache of feeling lost and like an outsider.

I still listen to the conversations happening all around me among the nature beings with whom I share an ecosystem. Only now I’m part of them because, of course, I’m part of this ecosystem. I’ve found that I do understand the language. It takes listening with all of my senses— surrendering into sound and rhythm and gesture or movement and allowing understanding to surface on the stream of sensory input.

Why listen to the wild? So many reasons, of course. But as a tiny child and as an adult with six decades of life carved in her limbs, remembering and feeling how deeply I belong is one of the foundational reasons.

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