Stop, breathe, be aware of the wild things

Published 2:16 am Wednesday, March 29, 2017

After many years of residing in a home sandwiched between woods and water, I forget I live among wild things. Watching an eagle flying low or hearing the shrieks of hawks calling to each other becomes nothing out of the ordinary.

It is like my husband told me when he worked in a plant that processed pecans. After a while, you forget that what you are working with every day is something to eat.

When walking outside means catching sight of an egret taking flight or a turtle slowly meandering its way to the water, I need reminding that not everyone walks out her back door to such sights. If I’m not careful, I take it for granted and do not properly appreciate the blessing of living in such a place.

I admit I am guilty of passing days without stopping to notice what surrounds me. Oh, but there are those times when I hit the pause button and take some precious moments to drink it all in.

Sunday afternoon was one of those pause button times. Of course, it is easier to slow down on weekends, especially on a Sunday afternoon.

Some how, the world feels different on that day, less hurried, quieter. Even the shadows have a special slant as the sun filters through the baby leaves just opening on the oak branches.

After dozing in the sun for a few minutes, I opened my eyes and the thought, “Look around; you live among wild things,” popped into my head. In a flash, it hit me how often I rush through the days without paying attention to the wild world around me.

With that in mind, I took a stroll down to the water and settled into my favorite chair. A slight breeze moved over the lake, making little ripples in the surface.

I sat very still and started simply paying attention to the movement of my breathing, a practice I found makes the being still easier. The longer I sat, the more I noticed living things around me.

Overhead a squirrel fussed in loud, high-pitched cries. Every few minutes, a fish broke the water’s surface and landed with a splash. There was a clicking sound on the ground near a bush that was surely a cricket’s song.

Birds sang and frogs croaked. In the distance, there was the hum of a boat motor and the faraway sound of humans talking.

And there was so much movement. Spiky grass swayed with the current. Newly hatched dragonflies flitted, hovered and played games of chase. Three tiny ducks floated by and turtles’ heads popped up and then disappeared again.

As I sat, I felt myself being part of the sounds and movement, the boundaries between me and the wild world becoming less defined.

Suddenly underneath the living things, there was a sense of stillness. It felt like a great, silent, eternal something was holding all of everything.

Sitting there breathing, feeling a part of both the movement and the stillness, I remembered the words to a Beth Nielsen Chapman song, one of my favorites.


“If love could say God’s name

And we would just be still

Silence would start to sing

And nature reveal God’s will …


“… If love could say God’s name

We’d hear a trillion sounds

Choirs from the balconies

Grass grow through the ground …”


In that moment, silence sang, a profound silence beyond what words can describe. The miracle in the midst of it was that I was part of it as much as the grass growing through the ground.

Yes, I live among the wild things and I hope I stop more often and appreciate that gift. If I, if we, take time to know ourselves as part of it all, to experience our place among the wild things, perhaps the final verse of that song will be true.

“If love could say God’s name

How could we not behold

One light, one peace, one grace

Shining in every Soul.”



Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.