This morning I sat and listened. Simply listened. I do this nearly every morning, especially in the summer.
It is a form of meditation for me, as well as the method I use to center myself, to plug myself into the positive to begin a glorious new day. It also invites me into the generous arms of peace so they can carry me through my day rather than my ever busy mind. I sit and listen to the sounds of summer.
If the temperature allows, I go outside and sit on the small back porch that overlooks our yard and garden. It is a wildlife sanctuary in its own right, ringed by cedar trees for nesting, and bordered by a meadow that provides the curious, occasional visitor; a pair of ducks, a large red fox, even a juvenile black bear who sneaks in at night to raid the bird feeders. I sit in a wicker rocking chair and watch the activity and I listen.
Or, if it is a particularly warm and sunny day, I will go out the front door and wander down to the water’s edge. A bright pink Adirondack chair faithfully awaits my return. Sitting and listening here in this place of bluegreen beauty offers a completely different type of experience. Kildeer and shore birds scuttle about. A freighter or schooner glides by. Fish jump and seagulls squawk, dipping down to catch them. A lone bald eagle rhythmically soars high on silent currents. I sit and watch and listen.
It is summer here in Michigan. We have three short months to savor this spectacular season before the leaves drop and winter settles in. We never know what the winters will bring. Last winter we had very little snow. The year before we had 170 inches of the white stuff. So, when things begin to green and pop here, outside we go, and, for many of us, outside we stay. I am one of those.
I am also a beach girl, born and bred. I have lived on or near Lake Michigan most of my life. I am also a Leo, a lioness woman, who loves to lay and be lazy in the sun. I crave the warmth. This season, more than any other, soothes my soul. It also invites me to “do” less and “be more.” To take into my bones, as well as my memory bank, the wind, the warmth, the wonder of this magical time when everything around me is so alive, for the days will soon come when only a sky of gray and a groundcover of white can be seen.
I sit listening to it all; the creatures of nature, the whispers of the flowers, my heart, and the wisdom of spirit. It is up to me to pay attention and heed their call.
This is what I am listening to and what I am hearing. There is a difference you know.
From the Garden:
Big, bold red poppies have presented their faces to the world. They are luminous and wide open, hiding nothing. They do not sequester their beauty, their optimism for life. They say to me, “Accept your radiance and live it for all the world to see. Accept yourself as you are and be happy.”
From the Shore:
We have just completed major weeding. The beach was covered with overgrowth and, within days, many of them are back. They invite me to stay vigilant to my own self-weeding process.
“When prickly thoughts or self-doubt sprout up, pull them up, not by their heads, but by their roots so they can be permanently tossed away.”
From My Heart:
I want to begin to write my next book. I have three started, but I am not sure which one it should be. So I’ve been listening, listening, listening — and no clear answer has been forthcoming. My ego-mind jumps in to give quick answers, to place pressure, a dearth of “shoulds.” My heart is telling me to wait, to sit, and listen some more. The answer will come.
“Be patient. Be still. These things cannot be rushed. You will know when you know.”
From the Spirit:
In the early evenings, I am tempted to go back to my desk to catch a half-hour or more of connection with my Internet friends or to write e-mails to others. The sun begins to set and my husband hollers from the other room for me to come and take a look. The colors are stunning. Glorious sunsets, one after another, many evenings in a row, and I tend to miss them when my face is turned toward the computer instead of to the sky.
When I do oblige my spirit’s call, it feels as if I am witnessing the Master Painter itself expressing the sacred in bold patterns of brilliant color. I do not want to miss one moment of divine handiwork.
“Come away with me. Live here in this place of timeless beauty and possibility. This is who you really are. Do you see yourself in my brush strokes?”
And so in summer I sit listening to the wind, the garden, the shore, my heart, to the Sacred within them all, and I accept their invitations.
Will you? What do you hear when you sit and listen to the sounds of summer?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Janice Lynne Lundy is an educator, Interfaith Spiritual Director, retreat leader and author of four personal/spiritual growth books for women, including Your Truest Self: Embracing The Woman You Are Meant to Be.