The phrase ‘divine symphony’ was coined by a naturalist, whose name I cannot recall, who studies the effects of clearing the forest in order to diminish the danger of fires. This unnamed researcher audio-taped the sounds before the clearing and after. The effects were both stunning and upsetting: what was a cacophony of sound prior to the removal of every other tree became nearly silence following the actions of the Forest Service.
So much of the time, what seems reasonable and ‘natural’ to us can have inimical effects upon the very world we here trying to protect; hence the name, ‘The Divine Symphony.’ Although I listened to that TED talk several months ago, the researcher’s observations have stayed with me, as did the evocative name of these sounds….the sounds we take for granted until they are no longer heard.
Like so many of us, my views on certain doctrines or beliefs can change instantaneously once I have experience to ground the idea. For example, were I still living in areas where rain is so constant as to be considered a nuisance, I would form judgments on the actions of the Forest Service personnel as they carry out their tree thinning work passionately so, once I learn the inimical effects.
But now that I have experienced the terror, devastation and destruction of wildfires in an up close and personal way by living in the high desert…emphasis on the word desert, and met some of these men and women who literally risk their lives as they work to save mine, my property and those of my neighbors, everything changes; what was an abstraction is suddenly, so painfully real.
Isn’t it almost comically true that with more information and understanding what initially appears simple…. a no-brainer- suddenly is almost always understood completely differently…we see the complexity and ambiguity; the total absence of a simple solution?
This morning, while going outside in the wet cold morning to feed the birds, ducking the rarely soaked branches of the 30 or so trees branches and shrubs we have planted here in the twelve years we have lived here, I thought of the ‘divine symphony’ in reverse: the chorus of birds I hear is loud, raucous, and beautiful as I dart in and out of the dripping leaves to fill the feeders, step around the puddles of blessed mud, so precious after now, three days of rain.
The fires are out.
And I smile as I listen to what sounds very much like gratitude as I watch the birds dart out from invisible ‘homes’ in the trees to come and eat.
There were no trees when we moved here—only silence. Now we hear a ‘divine symphony’ in our small corner of this earth…small actions we can take to be His hands, actions that matter in ways we glimpse only now and then…miraculous moments in time.