Becoming part of the silence

Early twentieth century Irish nationalist Robert Wilson Lynd wrote the following very worthy, somewhat Stoic, observation:

In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence. One has to sit still like a mystic and wait. One soon learns that fussing, instead of achieving things, merely prevents things from happening. To be passive is in some circumstances the most efficient form of activity. You cannot command events: you can only put yourself in the place where events will happen to you. No impatient man has ever seen Nature.

If there is a single day in modern life — certainly in the West — which exemplifies the deepest wisdom and the figurative sense of Lynd’s insight, it is Christmas. Christmas, as now lived, is all fussing and no achieving, all hurrying and no patience, all hustling about and no sitting and waiting, and above all, all chattering and no becoming a part of the silence. As a result, modern man, for all his huffing and puffing and scurrying and rushing, never sees the “Nature” in Christmas. And in this regard, Christmas is merely the epitome or symbol of every other day in our late modern emptiness, this grand revolving hollow, resounding day and night with meaningless echoes. 

This year, I had the wonderful opportunity to go all antithetical and immodern for Christmas. I became a part of the silence and waited “like a mystic,” and hence, for a great change, I saw Nature — and birds.

(Click on each image for a larger view.)

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