Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I Remember

I live ten minutes from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP).  I admit it.  I have always said that if I become rich and famous I am going to promote the heck out of northeastern Ohio.  The Akron/Cleveland Metro Parks System is one reason and the national park is the other.
I have been blessed to use the massive CVNP trail system to hike, bike, and horseback ride for years.  Don’t even get me started on my other “favorites” such as the towpath, train, farmer’s market, blue heron rookery, ledges overlook, covered bridge, beaver marsh, and the whole town of Peninsula.
The Covered Bridge where we hike, bike, and horseback ride

And of course I can’t help but boast that my husband Joe and I, along with our dogs Abby and Wali (who just passed his test today!!!) are proud members of the CVNP Paw Patrol—an innovative program that serves as a model among all of the national parks throughout the country. Paw Patrol dogs act as park “ambassadors” of good will to visitors, while showcasing the park’s unique welcoming policies for leashed dogs.
Joe with our CVNP Paw Patrol dogs Abby and Wali

But all of this is just background to what I most want to express.  Beyond the accessibility of the CVNP, beyond the incredible beauty, and beyond all of the many fun activities available—what I love most is that every time I visit, I REMEMBER.
As I enter this sanctuary and listen in the silence of nature I remember what it’s like to:
  • Feel connected to something greater than, clearly grasping that someone or something far greater and grander than we humans put this whole thing together;   
  • Be in a place and space without judgments or expectations;
  • Realize that the “barking dog” distractions of life don’t matter as much as I thought;
  • Feel at peace, merely by the acts of listening and breathing.

Most of us understand this as some level, although we may not articulate it as such.  We just know that after we visit a place filled with nature, we feel a lot better when we return home.  Deep in our core we understand that we have tapped into the most natural and sacred part of not only the universe, but ourselves.

Gordon Hempton, an internationally recognized “acoustical ecologist” has spent a lifetime experiencing and recording this “silence of nature.”  He has authored many articles and books, as well as having produced award winning recordings of nature sounds from around the world.

One of the many things that appeals to me about Gordon’s work is that he believes that when we are in “the silence of nature” we develop a deep ability to listen—to oneself as well as others.  

He claims, and I completely agree, that it is important to become experienced in listening to the silence of nature while in a state of observation and non-judgement, and only attending to the sounds of such things as birds, running water, or the wind rustling the leaves as you walk.  

Gordon also believes that the more skilled you become at listening for the sake of listening while in nature, the more attuned you will be at listening to people, to be able to truly capture the essence of their message without judgement or preconceived ideas.

How exquisite--the practice and skills you develop while in the silence of nature appears to not only be good for the soul, but also good for those you interact with every day.  What a perfect example for taking inner listening and moving it outward into our daily lives.

Take a walk in a park.  Step out on your porch in the early morning.  Sit around a campfire.  Purchase a CD with the sounds of nature.  Do whatever it takes, even for a few minutes to tune in and listen, and above all REMEMBER.

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