“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.”
― Ernest Hemingway
As summer wanes, the silence increases. Little birdsong is left as many parents and young ones get ready for the trip South. Crickets and locust still continue their chirping day and night, but the frogs’ croaking has lessened as well.
With the movement now of summer to fall, I begin to hear the crunching of the leaves. I hear the grasses rustle and sway. Soothing sounds that nature gives us that seem to move with my breathing in and out.
And with the quieter times in the garden, I revel in that solitude. It gives me a chance to listen intently to every little sound now. And to listen to my internal voice. It usually is too busy with so much outside stimuli that I can never quite hear its message entirely.
I often think we don’t listen enough to ourselves and to others. I have definitely been more of a talker instead of a listener. Nodding, shaking my head…in a hurry…get to the point…I need to move on to a meeting….oh yes I have done that too…now what was I going to respond…need to keep that thought in my head…what were they saying…..that was the usual discourse going through my head as someone was talking. Not listening, just hearing dribs and drabs so it would appear as though I was.
And I wasn’t proud of those moments. Sometimes I wished I had the time to listen more, to really listen. Maybe to make the time to listen. When I took time to listen to people who came to me, I was helpful even it was just to lend an ear and not to give advice. People need to run their ideas or their troubles by someone and sometimes come up with their own solutions.
But beyond those times when someone came and I had time, I wish I had connected more with people. Spending less time talking….this is hard for me…..and more time listening. Hearing them, letting them talk. Getting to know someone by letting them tell you about themselves without interjecting about my life.
But listening isn’t easy, is it. To keep your attention focused on someone else. Really hearing their words, watching their body language totally engaged with them. Not wanting to respond and get your ideas or experiences out.
It is a gift to give someone your full attention. And when I give this gift, I find I have less of a need to talk. Instead I crave the connection that comes from this gift…a more special experience. Giving someone my attention, my time….I can’t think of a better gift, can you.
Special Note: The plant featured in this post is Northern Sea Oats. It is a wonderful native grass that grows here, and I love to listen to it rustle from late summer through winter.
I leave you with another thought about listening in my garden. Feel free to download the photo and share.
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