Listening to the dawn – and other lessons

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a Nature Writing workshop with Deborah Carr. Our very first exercise was one of listening and truly hearing the sounds around us. Sitting on a chair in the woods near Trout Stream in the middle of Sussex it was a challenge to block out the roaring sounds of motorcycles, chain saws, dirt bikes and other people and hear the stream, the determined chirping of birds refusing to surrender to the sounds of civilization, and my own heart beat.

The second exercise involved viewing any found object in nature from the perspective of a small child. Since I spend a lot of my time with Hoover, for me it is easier to imagine looking at things from a dog’s perspective – and that adds an element of fun to the exploration.

When we walk together early each morning I try to grab a camera or at least my iPhone to gather memories of what we see. We are often out and about long before the sun peaks over the horizon, smelling the musty earth and waiting, with anticipation, for that firs glimpse of light on the horizon over the Picadilly hills. Once light appears, the mysteries hidden in the dark and mist are revealed – acres of dandelion fluff waiting for a breeze to send each seed forth on its journey – or into the house attached to Hoover’s long coat.

Sometimes, on our way home, as I glance back over my shoulder, the rising sun waves goodbye to us and invites us to return again early tomorrow – before the sounds of civilization intrude so once again we can listen to the sleepy chirping of the wakening birds.


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