People used to take walks to listen to the sounds of the woods – the birds warbling, the leaves dancing across the ground in time to the wind’s whistling, the river slipping and slapping the rocks. It was a way to clear one’s mind of all of the raucous screeching of the world and hear one’s soul speak. It was a way to think, to hear one’s thoughts, to focus on the important things in one’s life. Some called it communing with nature – for some, it was simply taking a walk to ‘clear one’s head’.
Today people take a walk in the woods to ‘get physically fit’ – and one can’t do this without an iPod, IPhone, or MP3 player. Today a person is always ‘plugged in’, never sitting or walking in silence, never able to hear one’s own breathing over the din of everyday living, never able to chirp in tune with the birds or wonder at the tap-dancing sounds of a woodpecker finding his dinner. Today, a person relies on his or her endorphins to ‘clear one’s head’ – not the sounds of silence.
What is it that we fear? We used to embrace silence, thinking and being alone with our thoughts – now, we invent new stuff to keep our ears, eyes and minds full at all times. Are we afraid of what we might realize if we really listened to our thoughts, our fears, our desires? Are we afraid we might start second-guessing decisions we have made in our lives?
Are we afraid to be alone with nothing to hear except our own thoughts? Are we afraid of ourselves?