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Photo: Josee Talbot
I like to be outside and listen to the sounds of nature. I’ll always remember one gray, bitter, early winter morning. I was outside shoveling snow and it seemed like all the rest of the world was asleep. The birds were still waiting for dawn’s wake-up call. The only sound was the persistent wind as it rattled the trees, sweeping across the fields sending a shiver into my bones as it passed. In the distance I heard a faint sound. I paused from my labor to listen more intently. As I listened, I recognized it was the call of wild geese and the sound was becoming more audible and familiar. I leaned on my shovel and soaked in the chilling beauty as I waited for these south bound travelers to arrive. Their melodious chatter became louder and clearer as I waited in anticipation.

After they had flown over and their voices were lost in the wind, I went back to shoveling. The heavy, dull scratching sound of the shovel, as it pushed against the concrete, reminded me of life. I get absorbed in the duties of the day and don’t take time to stop. I need to learn to pause regularly so I’ll hear something besides the grating demands pushing me along. Perhaps, I’d not only find peace and beauty, but I might even hear God. I knew I’d always remember what I saw, heard, and learned that morning.

Well, sort of. 

Now it is eight years later and I’d forgotten that snowy morning and the lesson until today. It is early spring. The arrival of warmth has given nature and this nature lover renewed energy. As I roamed through the woods soaking in the sight of layers of fresh greenery, a sudden shower began. I’m not normally someone who stands around in the rain, but this time I didn’t move. I just stood there and listened. The rain hitting the leaves sounded like applause before it gently fell to pat the earth. How many times have I heard it rain before and never heard the applause? More times than I can count.

That’s when I recalled the snowy morning and the geese. I hope this time I’ll remember to pause more often and listen. I need to really listen when people talk to me, when my body tells me it needs rest, and when I am seeking God. I believe it is when we stop and listen with our heart, that we hear the most important part.

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By Donice Palmer. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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