An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of December 22, 2002
issued from the woods just south of Natchez, Mississippi, USA

WARM BREEZES

Most of this week has been breezy and unseasonably warm. It was good hearing crickets chirping in the full-moon nights and Spring Peepers peeping throughout the days. Before a cold front passed through on Thursday, deep in the nights I'd awaken and just lie listening to the whoosh of wind in the trees, and a small twig tapping against the trailer.

Usually as I work at the computer I listen to classical music on Public Radio. This week they've sprinkled fairly tired Christmas carols throughout their daily offerings so I've just kept the radio off. That resulting quietness reminded me of how nice it is to hear only the wind. It was a comfort, a "Joy to the World" in wind.

Maybe a hundred years from now sociologists and psychologists will shake their heads when they recall how today we tolerate in our lives such material, social and psychological clutter -- so many inelegant distractions. They will view us as we do London slum dwellers during the time of Dickens.

In my opinion, barking dogs, traffic noise, perpetually yammering radios and TVs, jets roaring overhead... they are more than inelegant: They are actually destructive to the healthy human spirit. Clutter, whatever the kind, fogs the vision, confuses the insight, mutes the music. Interminable distractions nibble at one's senses until mental fog, emotional numbness and spiritual torpor take over.

But, nature's sounds... the sound of breezes, the trickling water, surf at the beach, the heartbeat of a loved one... are actually therapeutic to a bruised soul. Maybe it's because these natural sounds remind us subliminally that a few solid realities do indeed exist, despite the evidence of the ever-shifting, choking clutter around us. Beyond the radio's inane noises, never-ending, majestically simple and powerful melodies stream throughout the Universe, and one sound of such a melody is that of wind deep in a warm night.

And just think: You can also walk in the fields and see the wind swirling through the broomsedge, and walk in the forests and behold that wind swaying tree limbs and sending down occasional sprays of bright leaves...  Facebook Icon.