It was unusually warm for January as I took my Saturday morning walk up to Buzzard’s Roost. This rock outcropping is at a most amazing place, as the Chapman and Monte-Sano mountains come together at an angle in the foothills of the Appalachians. The formations of the mountain have the effect of amplifying the sound of the city, while still providing the wondrous sounds of the forest.
As I cross from Oak Park trail towards the creek at the base of Buzzard’s Roost, I hear a rustling sound in the forest. I stop, look, and listen. First one deer, then two more are traveling, not more than 50 meters in front of me. I stop, look at them, and one of them stares at me. I enjoy the wonder of locking eyes with God’s beautiful creation.
I make my way up across the creek and up the trail to Buzzard’s Roost. I take my spot, close my eyes, and listen. At first, I hear the roar of the highway, with cars and trucks miles in the distance. I then practice listening for the stillness. In my mind I blot out the city noise, and I listen. I hear very little, but then the sounds start to build. I hear a squirrel in the leaves, then a nearby bird singing a song. Then, off in the distance, another bird responds. The two go back and forth, one near and one far. The sounds of the forest increase in loudness in a beautiful symphonic melody as scuttling squirrels, rustling birds, and the two song birds all add their beautiful notes. I get lost in the moment, then as suddenly as it began the songbirds ceased their courtship. The sounds of the forest grew dim, and I was again aware of the sounds of the city. My eyes are now open, looking at the forest around me.
I once again close my eyes, and focus on listening. I hear squirrels once again, then the trickling of the creek below. A new symphony arises as the sounds of the trickling water go down and across the rocks below. I get lost again in the moment, enjoying the water in the forest.
Time passed, but I do not know how much. I enjoyed the moment, then started my path back down the trail, across the creek, and down the mountain. It has been a good day.