Friday, April 15, 2011

The Art of Listening

"Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Flaming June, Lord Frederic Leighton, Oil on canvas, 1895
Ponce Museum of Art, Peurto Rico

Last night another round of thunderstorms rolled through Weldon Spring. They were not frightening, as the ones that rolled through Oklahoma yesterday had been. They were comforting.

Distant flashes of light and soft rumbles filled the quiet night air. The rain tip-tip-tipped steadily, and Brother Wind swayed the trees quite gently. My window was cracked and the cool breeze crept in, but I was wrapped in the comforting warmth of loving arms throughout the night.

Morning came amidst the dark cold rain, the sun deeply subdued and barely perceptible. The birds must know that the rain will continue all day, and are filling the morning with song. Brother Wind is still passing through the scene outside my window, creating the most pleasing rocking motion through the trees. Even he (who enjoys taunting me at times) seems to offer comfort, saying, "The week ahead will be difficult. You will need strength. We've created this gift for you...take it and rest."

I'm trying to listen more carefully these days. It's an that I hope to improve.

The week ahead includes a memorial celebration for my mother, and will be very special, yet difficult, I'm sure. Today I have no work that can't wait until afternoon. I have darkness, and light rain, and breezy cool inside and out. I have this been offered this gift, and I am listening...

I think I will accept it. I'm going back to bed.

Today I wish you the pleasure of nature's gifts and the ability to listen.

Music today is the familiar and beautiful "Méditation from Thaïs" by Jules Massenet. ["Thaïs" is a beautiful opera, but one of great difficulty, and as such, is not part of the standard repertoire of many opera companies. "Méditation" is actually not a part of the opera per se, but is an entr'acte, played between the scenes of Act II.]

The legendary violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter performs with pianist Lambert Orkis in this 2008 recital. Let the music wash over you as you listen.

What do you hear? Longing? Sorrow? Strength? Peace? Only you can say what the message truly is for you...just remember how important it is to listen carefully. Please enjoy.


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