Last weekend, I went hiking all by myself in the Shenandoah National Park. It was gorgeous and invigorating. When I got to the top of the relatively short hike (about 2 miles round trip), I sat for a long time, looking over the valley and considering the true aloneness of the moment.
But not lonely.
The longer I sat there, the more noises I heard. I hadn’t talked to a single person the whole way up, but now that I was sitting still, the sounds around me were deafening. The wind rustling the dry leaves on the rocks, birds chirping and crying to one another, bugs buzzing around, distant traffic echoing to the top of the mountain.
Where did all those sounds come from???
They are there, all the time. We just have to listen.
Here’s my dare for you and myself: the next time you go outside, stop. Stop moving, breath quietly, and listen, really listen, to all the sounds around you. Don’t talk. Just listen. What do you hear? What do you hear that you hear every single day that you’ve never noticed before?
Why is listening, really listening, so hard?