“Our mother is alive.” The Juggler wanders deeper into the trees, his lesson trailing him like a word-bubble in a comic strip. I follow so as not to not miss a beat, but he moves faster. Behind him, the dark closes in and I am forced to use my senses.
Silence. Not even his musical phrasing can be heard. I try to listen closer, but he’s no longer talking.
“Listen to the still silence of the night,” a voice says in the quiet of my mind. And so, I listen. At first, I hear nothing. The darkness closes in … nothing. Nothing except the quickening of my breathing.
Then there’s a rustle. A breeze through the leaves. A sigh.
I’m still not sure where my teacher went, so I stand near the place where I last saw him. My hand rests on the rough bark of a tree and I listen with my heart.
A click, soft yet sharp, says a quick Hi.
“Hello, you,” I answer back.
Soon, the creature who had clicked starts to sing, then the forest answers back. One click becomes a hum. It is joined by a croak, then a knock, then a smooth buzz and more clicks on a slightly lower octave.
A rumble then, lower than the clicks and hums and singing, alerts me that other animals may be hiding behind the trees. Maybe a wild dog or a momma bear. Maybe just my imagination.
Returning to the campsite, I stoke the fire again and get near the flapping warmth.
“Hooo,” comes the owl’s call from the Joshua Tree at the other side of the small hill. Soon, it is joined by a gobble from a family of wild turkeys. And, as the fire catches in the fire pit, the music of the dancing flames and the burning wood join the symphony of Gaia.
By the time the Juggler returns, I am immersed in a world of nature’s music. I feel like August Rush composing a sonata.
“She is marvelous, isn’t she?” The Juggler gloats as if this interlude was created only for him. “She tells me that she is very happy to be awake and alive again.”
“I didn’t know she was ever asleep or not alive.” My questions leaps out faster than my mind could form the words.
He sits in front of the fire. “You’re not alone –” then he interrupts himself. “No, you are. A lot of people think she’s just a rock.”
“Of course she’s alive,” I say, caressing the smooth red trunk of the young tree nearby. “But you say she was asleep. How could that be?
“Just like other animals sleep. She’s no different. She is sentient, aware of herself,” he says, then he stares off toward what seems like nothing but is probably something vibrant and alive.
I remember the day recently when an overjoyed Juggler dragged me into the desert to show me a quartz rock buried in the ground. “Gaia’s giving birth!” he’d nearly giggled, and I felt his joy at the glimpse of life.
I get it, though. The truth is most people don’t hear her and see her like we do. Most people don’t feel her take a deep, grateful sigh when a wild horse snorts as it inspects its visitor. Most people think a sudden burst of flight is simply a coincidence, not thinking it may be Gaia’s glee.
Okay, I know this may sound a little bit far-fetched to most of you city-folk, but I’d like for you to consider it for a second.
What if those sounds were actually answers to the question you posed the minute before?
What if that random breeze was a kiss from a happy Mother Nature?
What if that light rainfall were tears of joy?
What if that puppy found its way to you as a well-deserved gift?
See, that’s the world I live in now, and it’s a marvelous, joyful world, indeed. Maybe living in my world isn’t that bad, after all.
Namaste, my friends.
The Dragonfly’s Student