Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Art of Listening in the Woods

yet another essay

For many of us, value is lost in the constantly changing world around us. Out of touch with ourselves and our environments, we go about our daily lives concerned with what’s next and never with what’s now. We thrive on the practice of planning ahead and giving only partial attention to the present. Future-oriented and often frightfully oblivious to problems other than our own, our society is endlessly moving forward but rarely does it ever slow enough to appreciate the lessons of today. By taking a moment to slow life’s pace and step outside, we will find ourselves happily awakening to beauty and wisdom we would have otherwise passed by.
            One afternoon, I was accompanying my brother and dad on a golfing outing—I don’t play but I tag along for the chance to view and photograph wildlife.
At one of the tee-off points I noticed a slight doe grazing across a hill. I had brought my camera and started to make my way slowly to the doe. She eventually bolted back into the woods nearby and I returned to my family. As they finished playing that golf hole, I decided to check once more for the doe. I was very surprised to see her peeking out from the hedgeline right at me. I gently sat down and watched intently. To my great shock and delight, the doe deliberately stepped over the hedge line and walked towards me, her gaze never once wandering from my face. Gingerly, but without fear, she walked straight at me. I was shaking from the sheer wonder of the event, and in awe of the creature coming towards me on her own accord. I took some great photographs, in many of which she was looking right into the lens.
            Any move I made was noticed and noted by the doe. Although the encounter had begun with a mutual curiosity, her instincts were, at certain instances, stronger than her personal desires. I made a point to stay as still as possible in a nonthreatening position.
            Minutes passed and she began to graze not ten feet from me, alert yet comfortable with my presence. I sat, soaking in her grace and perfection. Her giant brown eyes gave new meaning to the term ‘doe eyed’. The looks she gave me were not at all those of a lesser beast; in fact they were those of one wiser than I in many aspects. Her youthful face belied the life experience I knew she had.  This was not a creature deserving of human victimization; this was an intelligent being who possessed infinite abilities and pieces of knowledge beyond our comprehension.
            Ultimately the forest called to her wild heart and sent her stepping away, but when she reached the treeline, she stopped to look over her shoulder at me before dipping into the mottled light of the woods.
            This doe taught me to be patient and let life come to you, for when you allow life to take its course and decline to interfere, it will appreciate your respect and grant you small put powerful windows into its mysterious ways.  Since the encounter with the doe, I have reminded myself countless times of her selfless gift of companionship. Her lesson hangs in my consciousness, prompting me to take my time and savor the small things in life. In this way I have learned respect as well as patience. Life has much to teach us, if we only listen.

~Peace always,

1 comment:

Daniel said...

Insightful and thought provoking. Wonderful images too!