On a Quiet Day I Can Hear her Breathing.

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1 Forêt Domaniale


The  title of my blog today is taken from a current exhibition  in Sydney, which  features photographs that "reflect the Earth as a living organism."  Have you ever been somewhere so completely quiet that you too have heard the earth breathe? That is a feeling that I get sometimes when I sit at home on a quiet day.

Yesterday was Sunday and as I surveyed the pine forest that rises above our home early thAt morning, the world was still. Not a breath of wind could be heard , nor any sound of life . And yes, I am sure that I could hear the earth breathe. We often experience complete silence here. I value it above everything else in the whole world.

Our last holiday visitors of the season have  just left for Paris.. I smile when I recall what they have written in  our guest book , about how much they will  miss 'la calme ' and 'le silence'. Sometimes the silence is broken as the wind rises, gently stirring  the branches of  a tree before  spreading through the forest like a rumour, until all the trees are calling to each other. In spring  we may hear the  cuckoo cry, or a snake eagle  mewing from on high like a seagull. In summer the cicadas set up a constant buzz. And on most days throughout the year our friend the raven will call out to us across the still air as he launches himself from his home in the adjacent trees, just to let us know that he is off on one of his daily acrobatic flights down the valley with his mate(s). We are never alone here in our silence, despite  our isolation.

But  Sundays are generally different . They can be very noisy indeed. I never claimed that we live in Paradise.  Sunday is the busiest day for the  hunters  who come to our forest in search of deer and sanglier, or wild boar . So yesterday  I feared  that the  ugly sound of baying dogs and gunfire would soon puncture the peaceful start to  our day. But  this Sunday silence still hovered over our  forest and there was an uneasy calm. I realised that the start of the hunting season must have been delayed.  But then  I knew all too well that  soon, far below us on the road that winds through our valley, the weekend motor cyclists would be coming past, throwing their noisy machines around the bends at breakneck speed, and revving their engines like giant aggressive hornets. But I also knew that by the end of the day they would  be gone. Complete peace would be restored, apart from occasional birdsong, or the church bells down in the village , ringing out the seven o'clock ‘Angelus.’. And then maybe, if the wind had dropped, we would hear the earth breathe once more.

Slow down World, before it is too late.