The morning stillness is momentarily broken by the call of a meadowlark —a sweet, pleasant sound, yet this morning, it startles. Away from here, I forget the gift of quiet and when I return, it’s easy to take it for granted. The barnyard is full of animals -- my two mares and nanny goat, four dogs and an ever-growing number of cats, six at present. So it is not silent, but each sound by its birthright adds to the natural stillness. The horses scuff the dirt as they shift their weight, sighing in gentle breaths. The very old nanny goat contentedly chews her cud, sounding like squeaky rubber spatulas. Two of the dogs play in the dusty corral, pretending to growl, and as they tire, sit in the shade panting, then together slump to the cool earth for a rest. Only the cats are silent as they wait for the prey only they can hear.
As everyone momentarily settles, I can hear grasshoppers crash to the ground after noisily clicking their wings on their brief, maniacal flights, bees and flies zip by unseen, and hummingbirds vie for a spot at the feeder, beating others away with their tiny but impressive wings. On an even more subtle level I detect a distant pair of cranes with their reassuring call and response, the breeze rusting the tall dry grasses creating a sound that seems to shhh itself, a redtail cries in the Hollow, and a first for me, the sound of a magpie’s wings pushing against the air, as it takes flight.
In the distance, I can see large tractors cutting the golden wheat, and dust trails from the semi trucks carrying the harvest over unpaved roads. Up close, the machinery is unbearably noisy, but the miles between us silence the loud motors, jake brakes and the crush of dirt and gravel.
It is a full orchestra of sounds, each layer adding to the harmony of this naturally abundant life. I’m aware of the calming effect of deep listening, the gifts of nature and the rhythm of my heart keeping time to it all.
© 2019 It’s Idaho, Ellen Lynch