This weekend I went on a nature walk for a class assignment and we were asked to ignore our phones or any other source of technological distraction. This was a welcomed assignment because by now I’m sure you’re all just as tired as I am keeping up with this election and the aftermath of it. I decided to go for a walk with my two younger brothers, to a park nearby in our neighborhood. Growing up I used to love going outside, there was always something new to discover with my cousins who always accompanied me to various parks. The sound of sneakers smashing against the floor was my favorite sound, we would always play freeze tag with each other and it never got old. Going on this nature walk was eye opening and ear opening because, I had forgotten what the sound of sneakers smashing against the floor sounded like.
On the walk to the park the sounds of cars and conversations were amplified, now that I didn’t have my phone everything seemed louder, and more alive. As a result of not having my phone glued to my hand more people said hello to me which was awkward but also really revealing to me. These strange and unfamiliar voices and faces were now a part of my day. The sound of the wind was loud and furious, and cars cried out for attention. When we arrived to the park it was fairly empty though the basketball court on the other side had some people. You could hear the basketball pounding against the floor and slamming into the hands of the players. You could almost feel the impact of the ball’s force.
My younger brothers started to play tag and the noise that was like an old friend who you hadn’t seen since middle school returned. The sneakers started clapping furiously and I remembered the unique sound. In Thoreau’s “Walden” a line that stood out to me was “All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself. The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated. We easily come to doubt if they exist. We soon forget them. They are the highest reality.”, this line rings true to me especially after the nature walk. Technology is our greatest ally and our most powerful enemy, it helps us discover things we never knew existed but never shields us from reality. Not having my headphones to shield me from no attack on my ears was pleasant. I could hear so many sounds like the sound of a deli door opening, or a bike racing with the cars. This isn’t to say I would give up music entirely but the music of nature has a beat, a chorus, and a message you just have to listen for it. Next time you go for a jog, or a walk try it without headphones or a phone in your hand, you might just hear a sound you forgot about.
Heres a cool video I found on Nature in New York
Picture : Kevin Estevez
- Thoreau, Henry D. Walden, Or, Life in the Woods. London: J.M. Dent, 1908. Print.