October 14, 2015
(If we live with an open and grateful attitude, every day will bring a gift. This is one of 365 gifts during the year I turned 70.)
Somewhere in the trees above me, I hear a woodpecker. I stop and search, especially in the dead limbs, but cannot find the bird. It is the taptaptapping that reminds me I’ve not heard the usual bird sounds on my walk in the park today. It is probably a sign that some species have begun a journey to warmer climates, even though it is not yet cold here.
I walk frequently in the park but today I begin to notice changes in sounds around me. Not only are many of the bird conversations missing but there are no more cicada choruses and the crickets seem to have lost some of their singing partners. One has retreated to inside my house, in anticipation of lowering temperatures. Instead of the usual plethora of creature sounds, now I notice a bombardment of acorns. At my house, thousands of tiny acorns rain on the roof like marbles, and crunch and roll under my shoes. At the park, giant acorns bombard the ground, as if invisible ghosts are taking target practice. The sound I love best in autumn is the crinkling of brittle brown leaves under my feet with each footstep.
As sounds alter in nature with the seasons sliding one into another, the sounds in my body also change with time. This morning with pain in my left knee, the rhythm of my footsteps becomes uneven. When I stoop down to pick up and examine a variegated red and yellow leaf, my bones crack on the way back up. My breathing is not as soft as it once was as I catch my breath.
In spite of shifting sounds, some welcome and some not, I find joy that I am able to hear and discern both the obvious and the subtle.
My gift today is hearing the changes.