Searching for the Sounds of Summer Silence

This month’s Nature as Muse program had us listening for the silence between the sounds. As we sat on the wetland bridge, immersed in a cacophony of frog calls, birdsong, and fish splashing, there was not much silence to be heard. After the program, I took a solitary walk in the woods; now there was space between the sounds for silence. Even my footfalls were quiet, especially walking on the mulch-covered Blockston Branch path. With the canopy filled in with summer leaves, the sunlight was filtered and soft and maybe tinted a bit green. Can you imagine how my eyes were drawn to a bright yellow spot in the middle of the path?
It turned out to be a tulip tree leaf that had taken on fall color and dropped from its high perch in one of the tallest trees in the forest. Of course I stopped and stared and had a flash of portent–the summer has just begun for us, but fall is just around the corner. Come out for a walk in the woods, and listen for the silence between the sounds of summer.
The Nature as Muse writing group meets the first Wednesday of the month, except for July and August. Each month the group follows a different winding path through the Arboretum to quietly observe nature in detail and gain inspiration for expressing ideas and discovering through writing. No previous writing experience is necessary. The group will meet next on Wednesday, September 5 at 10 a.m.
by Michelle Dolan Lawrence
Arboretum Docent Naturalist
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