Monday, March 21, 2016

This Beauty

Spring Equinox 2016

Early morning, early spring, I circle the wetland on the boardwalk. On this cloudy day, the roar of traffic from the highway a quarter mile away is the primary sound in the air, but if I make a conscious effort, I can tune in to the birdsong instead. There’s a lot of it this morning, sneet-sneet-sneet, wheerly-urrrr. Soon I’m not listening to the cars and trucks at all but only to the orchestra of life at Jackson-Frazier.

In her essential book The Earth Path, Starhawk writes that the tools of magic include the skill of listening to “the great conversation, the ongoing constant communication that surrounds us.” She says: “Most of us who live in cities, who are educated to read, write, do arithmetic, and use computers, live our lives surrounded by that conversation but are unaware of it. We may love nature, we may even profess to worship her, but most of us have barely a clue as to what she is murmuring in the night.”

We walk through the world paying attention to the wrong things. We let the manufactured and built realm occupy us entirely. We squint at tiny screens in our palms and miss the beauty of the living creation everywhere at hand. This beauty could feed us so deeply we wouldn’t need to reach for greasy foods or stuff we don’t need. But instead we eat greasy foods and buy stuff we don’t need. I know. I’ve done it.

Would you believe me if I told you I saw a double rainbow as I walked home before most people were even awake? I did. A chartreuse light bathed the budding trees as the rainbow materialized and I looked hard, speaking the order of the colors to myself: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red. Really? In just that order, always, all around the world? Who thought that up?

This earth, this beauty, could blow our minds if we let it. But it wouldn’t increase any corporate profits, so no one’s going to tell you this. You just have to find it out for yourself, if you have the courage to unplug and leave the herd behind.


  1. Earth, the great orchestra. I, too, focus on wild sounds when I'm out walking.

  2. Thanks, Lorraine, for that gentle reminder.