In May, the tradition is to celebrate Mothers. One thing all mothers have in common is that they want to be listened to and heard. There is a lot of wisdom in what most moms have to say, and Mother Nature is no different.
Depending on which cultural context you are interested in, there is an origin story that relates to the creation and expansion of life. Nature, derived from the Latin word natura, meaning birth or character was first used to describe the entirety of the phenomena of the world, and was further personified as Mother Nature. Anywhere from a goddess and a mythical being, the concept of Mother Nature or Earth Mother has served to help humans have a “thing” on which to place considerations of the natural world. In America, the term Mother Nature provides a parental figure-connection that affords some of us a comfort, as well as expectations, as to how to treat Earth, since she provides us sustainable life through plants, animals, water, and minerals. It helps us see our role and connection into the larger natural family portrait. Humans are not separate from nature; we are part of nature.
When we begin to see ourselves as part of nature, then it is easier for us to treat nature with care. Using our human ears, we can sometimes hear far more than we will ever see. Plus, to really listen, one must stop talking, and probably stop moving. The desire to listen to nature can be a great excuse and way to slow down, rest, and reflect.
The human ear allows us to enjoy the sounds of nature. Our ears are designed to capture auditory stimuli (sound waves) from the atmosphere and transfer that information into the brain for processing, which results in us hearing something. We actually intake far more sound waves than we hear, because our brain does a great job at filtering out the noise.
A fun activity to do is to sit and listen. Whether you are in your office in town or out on the trail, take a few moments to simply stop moving and listen. If you are inside, open the window, if you can. Start to register all the sounds you are hearing. Closing your eyes will also help you focus on your hearing. Slow your breathing, and simply listen. Do this for a few moments. Then, open your eyes, move a bit, and do it again. See if you hear more the second time. In the 21st century, within our busy lifestyles and noise-filled world we tend to ‘tune out’ so much of what is happening around us. But when we start to listen and train our brain, Mother Nature is consistently speaking through her creations. The wind through trees, songs of birds, and the chirps of crickets, throughout the day and night, Mother Nature is speaking.
Humans and everything we create is part of nature, so wherever you are, you are in nature. This perspective helps us connect with Mother Nature and has the potential to improve how we treat the natural environment within and beyond city limits. Get outside, or simply open your window and listen, Mother Nature has something important to say to you.