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Noticing the Sights and Sounds of Nature

Purple flowers begin to show themselves through the leaves of a grape hyacinth
Grape hyacinth starting to bloom

I was standing in my front yard on Easter Sunday, looking up at the large juniper tree beside my driveway. Birds bounced from branch to branch, singing their trilling songs. I watched the birds, intrigued by how easily they hopped through the tree. I listened to their intricate melodies.

 

All the little and big things that had been vying for attention in my mind took a back seat to the tree and the birds. Through the branches, I could see the neighbors across the street. They were having an Easter egg hunt in their front yard. The father lifted his toddler up to peer into the fork of a tall tree. The child's hand reached out and grasped an egg hidden there for him to find.

 

I listened to the excited voices of the children as they found treasures in the grass, behind rocks, and tucked next to the driveway. It was an idyllic scene. I came away from it, feeling refreshed after being around trees, birds, and a young family on an Easter egg hunt.

 

Taking time to enjoy the trees and the bird sounds in my own yard is a great way to de-stress. I don't spend much time doing that, but I may try to enjoy nature in my yard more than I have been. It has such a calming effect and puts things into better perspective.

 

The things I often stress over don't seem quite as stressful when I take time to listen to the sounds of nature around me and watch trees sway in a gentle wind.

 

Why don't we take more time to do things like that? Listening to nature's sounds are known to be good for our health because of the calming effect they have on us. For me, part of it is that I get so busy I don't think I have time to stop for a few minutes to listen to sounds around me and see the beauty of nature.

 

I did take a few minutes this morning to look at the plants starting to green up in the flower bed by my side door. A grape hyacinth was pushing up its purple blossoms. A rose bush sprouted new green leaves. A tulip lifted tall green blades toward the sky. And birds sang as they flitted in a spruce tree in my back yard.

 

When I went back inside after spending just a few minutes enjoying nature, I had more energy to tackle the tasks that awaited me. Everything seemed a little easier to do. Those few minutes spent paying attention to the beauty of nature around me weren't wasted time. I accomplished more in less time – just because I took a few moments to relax and notice, really notice, the loveliness around me.

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Listening to Trees

Juniper tree in the neighborhood

Sometimes when I need a little extra exercise, I walk through parts of my neighborhood. It's a great way to stretch my legs and strengthen my muscles.

 

There are lots of trees in the neighborhood where I live. Almost everyone has trees in their front, back or side yards. Every once in a while, one of those trees will grab my attention. From past interaction with trees, I know that means they want something from me or they have something to tell me. So I have learned to listen. It may sound strange to think of listening to trees. That kind of listening isn't done with your ears. It's done with your heart.

 

Often, a tree wants me to pray for it or to send it Reiki, which is a Japanese form of energy healing that promotes relaxation, rest, and other healthy things. Getting to do that is one of the joyful things about being a Reiki Master. If a tree wants Reiki, I also send Reiki to everyone and everything in the area that would like to receive it. Reiki can help to provide relaxation, rest and healing to a large area, which is a wonderful way of bringing a greater sense of peace to the neighborhood.

 

If a tree wants prayer, I don't usually know what it needs. I just pray that it receives whatever it needs to find healing and wholeness. I sometimes feel a rush of joy coming from the tree to me immediately after I have prayed for it. It's the tree's way of thanking me and of telling me it received benefits from the prayer.

 

Sometimes trees have something to tell me. Their message is always one of encouragement or support. I am amazed at how much trees feel an interconnection with us, a sense of community in which we all benefit as we support each other.

 

Some people don't feel anything special when they walk among trees. They may have a hard time understanding how anyone else could connect with trees. They may wonder if it's all in our heads. Perhaps they might think we have an overactive imagination or we're just a little bit crazy. But almost anyone can enjoy the shade that trees provide, the perches they offer in their branches for singing birds, the beauty they add wherever they grow.

 

When you walk by a tree, it might be fun to try an experiment. Using your mind, not your voice, tell the tree how beautiful you think it is. Acknowledge it by thanking it for all it provides. Then stand quietly near the tree and listen. You may hear birds sing, branches rustle in the wind, leaves swish together. But underneath those sounds, you just might sense something else, a blip of joy, a rush of love that overtakes you in a gentle way. If that happens, you just might have heard with your heart a thank you coming from that tree.

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