Listen to Creation – she is speaking!

Fr. Ashley Miranda SDB

09 September 2022

This summer I had the good fortune of spending a couple of relaxing weeks in Lonavala [80 kms away from Mumbai]. Lonavala is a nice cozy place nestled in the hills on the road between Mumbai and Pune. The very first morning after I arrived in Lonavala I was startled by the happy whistling of, what I thought was, a schoolboy on his way to school. The whistling was loud and clear, not perfectly musical perhaps, but happy and joyful and even a little teasing!! When I heard the whistling boy again later in the morning, I enquired about him and was surprised to discover that the happy whistler was not a boy from the neighborhood, but a little bird called the ‘whistling thrush’ or very aptly ‘the whistling schoolboy’.

Since that summer morning in May, I have had the pleasure of listening to the ‘whistling thrush’ sing umpteen number of times not only around our school in Lonavala but also, while I have been out on treks, in places significantly far away. It is very likely our ‘whistling schoolboy’ brought his friends along when he came into town.

Listening to nature can be one of the most nourishing experiences one has, provided of course, one is tuned to listen to her. The whistling of the ‘thrush’ is truly uplifting and seems to be a call to delight in the little things of life. To me, it is a call to gratitude!!

Creation has a beautiful voice and those who learn to listen to her are blest!! The gurgling of a flowing brook, the crickets calling in the night, the hooting of owls, the creaking of branches and the rustling of leaves, the chirping of sparrows, whispering of the summer breeze, the barking of dogs as they run after one another, the howling of waves as the break upon the shore during the monsoons, the rumble of thunder and the clap of lightning are sounds that surround us. Sometimes we hear these sounds, and very often we are oblivious to them. Of course, human voices too are part of the symphony that makes the ‘voice of creation’ the therapeutic healer that it is. The laughter of children at their games, the cheering yells and squeals of parents watching their kids play a football match, rhythmic melodious tunes flowing out from places of worship as devotees sing in unison, are all voices of creation. And all these voices are invigorating and energizing. One can’t ask for better therapy!!

However, while it is a great loss to be deaf to the voice of creation, it also does not help to be selective is listening to her as she speaks. The voice of creation may be happy – and delightful, encouraging, nourishing, and joyful – but in recent times it has also become more and more broken and sad, it has become a cry and a plaintive plea imploring us, human beings especially, to be compassionate and merciful not only to her but also to ‘ourselves’. The crackling of the scrub-forest fires that have gripped large parts of Europe in the last couple of months, the methane emitting mountains of garbage on the outskirts of our cities, the ravaged landscapes of warn torn Ukraine, Yemen, Syria and many other nations overrun by war, the sewage chocked gutters of many towns in the developing world that were once dignified life sustaining rivers, are nothing but creation crying out in distress pleading with us to wake up and take responsibility.

We humans have, in the course of our so-called evolution, mastered the ‘art of turning a blind eye and giving a deaf ear’! We can pretend that problems do not exist. But at the end of the day, it is we ourselves, and the generations after us that will have to pay the price. Nature is benevolent, for the most part, and very forgiving; but if we insist on burning down our own home there is little nature can do to protect us from ourselves.

While we talk of listening to the voice of creation, we must remind ourselves that listening also requires that we learn to be sensitive to voices that are soft and even to those whose voices are silent. When the birds stop singing because there are no more birds left to sing, it is tragic; when the rustling of leaves is no longer heard because the trees have been cut down, it is pitiful. We have got to wake up, attune ourselves, hear and act. We have got to remind ourselves also that some of these voices are human voices, voices that are so wracked by pain that they are unable to speak. Creation is speaking to us – we have got to listen and respond. A better world is possible!! We’ve got to make it a reality.

Tags : #SeasonoofCreation #ListentotheVoiceofCreation #LaudatoSi #nature #voiceofcreation #silence