Amidst the holiday sounds of Salvation Army bells, Christmas Carols, traffic, and presents being unwrapped comes a sound that brings back the feeling of Christmas. For some, it is silence; for some, it is laughter. The sounds of the holiday season can enforce either our love of the season or our frustration with it. It was after Christmas that I found the sound I needed.
The bad news about listening too closely to the sounds of life is that they sometimes the habit can force a person to tune out. Certain hymns at church can break through that for me during Christmas Mass, but it was birds and coyotes that reawakened me this year. I’m glad I was listening.
On a cold night at a campsite the other day, I heard coyotes going crazy. They gathered and howled over and over again, breaking the stillness of a moon-less night. My thoughts raced from wonderments of safety to enjoying the ageless sound of nature. There were “nature” moments for me, and spiritual ones, too. What sounds served as the background to night for the shepherds on Christmas 2000 years ago? Gazing at the stars, listening to unseen coyotes, feeling the warmth of a dying fire…these simple things returned me to a calmer, peaceful, spiritual place.
The next morning, I walked to enjoy the venue and the sounds of birds awakening late thanks to a heavy fog. First I noticed the chirping of the birds, and then the sound of their wings. I stood in the clearing with coffee in one hand and my phone in the other, recording a “voice memo” that I will certainly refer to often.
Listen to life; listen to…life, of all types. Those sounds are ageless.