Monday, May 14, 2007

The small still voice

When you hear a loud noise, it is usually associated with destruction: tornado, tsunami, hurricane, bulldozer, chain saw, snowmobile, gunshot, war. Creation takes place in silence.

Listen! What do you hear? The spider weaving its silken snare. The bluebird laying her eggs. The fiddleheads along the brook unrolling their green scarves. The petals from the pear trees blowing like confetti on the wind. The paired leaves of the wild-lily-of-the-valley shouldering aside the leaf litter on the forest floor. What's that, you say? You don't hear a thing? My point exactly.

"The still small voice is the voice of life and growth and perpetuity," said John Burroughs. I went one fine spring day to the place where John Burroughs is buried, on a rural hillside in the Catskills. There was not a sound, not even the hum of a car on a distant road. And all around me nature was building a grand creation called summer -- in utter silence.