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DAN SIMMONS: Get back to nature, enjoy the sounds of silence

Even as we see improvement in the current pandemic, but continue the process of quarantine, isolation, hibernation and social distancing, do what you can by continuing to work at home, work with government programs and creditors.

Then stop and enjoy the slowdown and listen to the “Sounds of Silence.” Not the absence of sound as in a sensory deprivation chamber, but the healing sounds of nature.

You now have the chance do just that – get away to the natural places in the mountains, forest or desert without the distraction of television, cell phones and other devices. Make the effort to find a quiet place, where you can listen to your own positive thoughts and nature’s sounds, away from the noisy neighbors and their dogs, lawn machines, cars and sirens, both near and in the distance.

In my quiet place you may find me sitting with my back to a great pine tree, on a stump at the edge of a clearing, or on an inviting rock with a view of only natural wonders. I may also be sitting in my canoe drifting slowly down a stream of near a lake shore quietly focused on the natural wonders we all once shared, but now often go unnoticed.

At these times I’m not distracted by city sounds or thoughts of work. My focus turns to the sound of a breeze creating a wave in the trees, a bird calling for a mate as I sit quietly. I notice the gentle flow of the creek or river, of a duck stirring the water for its latest meal, a frog calling in the distance or even a chipmunk running through the leaves. Sitting silently I may hear a deer walking nearby, not aware of my presence or an elk bugling. I strain my hearing to hear more.

But, it’s not just the sounds. The senses when focused also see movements constantly around that also often go unnoticed. A bird moving in a tree or in the leaves searching for insects, the flicker of a deer’s tail on the hillside as it watches us. Flowers in bloom, some so small they go unseen when passing quickly by. Then there’s the sky with its many unique and fleeting colors or cloud shapes in which, as children, we would see pirate ships and dragons; have the vision and patience of a child again. Our own children may have never seen these because of their many distractions.

We are also surrounded by the smell of clean earth, trees and plants, or the smell of an animal which recently passed by on the trail, the taste of fresh air, yes it really has a taste, but again it takes focus.

The sense of touch is of equal importance, the touch of the many types of tree bark, each unique, while the feel of leaves and flower petals may be a new experience, as is the feel of crunching leaves under ones footsteps as one slowly places each step on the trail (it’s not just the sound). All of these are simple and primeval, but require the all-important silence and focus.

I offer these examples and thoughts to encourage, and perhaps inspire, you to make the effort to find your own quiet place where you can listen to eternal sounds rather than the disturbing “noise” of our current challenges. You don’t have to go far, just over the hill or down the road and around the bend. Make it part of a day picnic or a short camping trip away from others.

The Sounds of Silence are not silent, but soul quieting. They provide a fresh perspective on the natural world and our place in it. As we do this, those noisy thoughts will diminish or fade away and quiet positive thoughts of thankfulness, peace and harmony can seep into our world.

Make the effort to find your quiet place, but don’t forget to take along some of that all important trail mix and perhaps a Snickers bar. Enjoy and be safe my friends.

Sportsman’s Quest Note

The results of the lottery for those coveted hunting tags will be released on or before May 22nd. So, keep an eye on your inbox or mailbox.

To get an early indication of the results, for those who can’t wait for the final posting, check your credit card purchases for payments to the Nevada Department of Wildlife. The amount of payment will indicate which tag you have drawn. I’m one of those who get a bit impatient as that time comes near. Good Luck.

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