A feather spirals from high above
I stop and watch it
Walk over and pick it up
There is no magic in how it flew
From a body with wings high above
Gravity sucking it down
Down to the ground where I stood
But it fell so gracefully
That it stopped time for a moment.
For the last few mornings every day
I have passed a tree where a white hawk suns itself quietly
Its head turns slowly as I pass by trying not to disturb
But it’s so high that it’s safe – a simple bird at peace
And it stops time for a brief moment for me
As I feel it’s tranquility and let it seep
From those golden half closed eyes
My podcast ends and I switch it off
Take out my earbuds
Sound rushes in
Time speeds up again
Perhaps the clock by its very tick tock
Lives in noise
Which nature bypasses but only when we stop
Remove the noise
And let the wonder of stillness trickle in
*the latest iteration of air pods are quite amazing. Their noise cancelling feature has led me to be able to witness life as if from outside it – a far calmer place to be, believe me.
Amidst the noise and bustle of a recent trip to Luna Park with family and in particular our young nephew, I was able to put my air pods in and instead of feeling physically attacked by the noise (as I often feel nowadays) I listened to beautiful piano music and watched it all as I would a movie. It was stunningly peaceful and poetic. I noticed far more than I normally would because my hearing wasn’t overwhelming my visual input.
I took the AirPods out to converse of course but while family all waited in line for rides (for 45 minutes at a time) and I sat to the side with bags (I hate amusement park rides these days – due to motion sickness) I watched all the movement with peaceful piano music as my soundtrack instead of screaming and discordant loud voices and machinery whirring around at cyclonic speeds.
That night we walked into a football stadium with 40,000 people and again, I popped in my AirPods – not with music and could still converse but it immediately dropped the noise to a level where my mind was not beset by the onslaught and instead I enjoyed the game with much more clarity then I normally would.
Noise is so ubiquitous to modern life that we forget what it is like to live without it playing a major role in our daily personal movie. Whilst I certainly wouldn’t want to be deaf, it is lovely to be able to control the volume and type of noise I allow into to my world.
I don’t always use the AirPods, I also have small ear plugs from Loop (google them) that I use sometimes. Whatever mechanism you choose, if affected by noise it can be as cheap as a pair of small foam plugs.
My grandfather didn’t have to encounter hundreds of different opinions per day. He didn’t have to walk past all the people who evokes emotional responses. His body didn’t have to deal with wifi and radiation and toxic chemicals. His food was simple. His ingestion was natural. He read widely and when the generator ran out of fuel or he wanted to – he walked over to the shed and turned it off. Silence and darkness would descend and he didn’t care whether I was in the middle of a good part of my book or not. Lights out, power finished. Go to sleep.
My grandfather was a peaceful man. We have forgotten that sort of peace. But we can turn off the generators in our lives or at least turn the damn things down.
The world is a default programme – we have the power to change the settings anytime.
We just have to realise it.
We filter our experience through hearing, through vision and through touch and smell and taste. But the first two – vision and hearing are the two largest sensory inputs. And we can choose not to look, just as we can choose not to hear those things that constantly annoy us with no purpose other than to serve someone else’s purpose.
The other day whilst shopping my eyes wandered across a human I find particularly annoying, we’ve all felt that jarring sense of “oh no” it’s not pleasant. Now people are just people and he is him and him choosing to be so should not irritate me but it does. My problem not his. I remembered my earbuds experience and took my glasses off – fade to Gaussian blur. Lovely, if slightly immature. Similarly I no longer watch the news and spend very little time on social media. We have an incredible power to choose what we allow into our experience, why not use it?
We can be offended and confronted or otherwise emotionally disturbed – and half the time we aren’t even aware of what is triggering us, we are so inured to being “wired”
Or we can choose our filter – wherever possible and relax. Not everywhere and with everyone, but certainly enough to blunt the impact at times of being a sensitive human in an increasingly loud and suffocatingly socially connected vastly populated and varied world.