Hearing Atoms

Image via Victoria Thorndale

Let us record the atoms as they fall upon the mind in the order in which they fall, let us trace the pattern, however disconnected and incoherent in appearance, which each sight or incident scores upon the consciousness. Let us not take it for granted that life exists more fully in what is commonly thought big than in what is commonly thought small.” Virginia Woolf

By: Gabriela Yareliz

The Wood Between the Worlds was the pond-filled forest in The Magician’s Nephew, the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia. This wood was my favorite place to visit, not only in the book but in my mind. It was a sleepy place of in-between, where the light glowed softly; where you could jump into a pool that was a portal into an entirely different world. The wood was empty, intensely green, and so quiet you could hear the trees growing in it (or at least this is how I remember it in my imagination).

Shhhh. Listen. Can you hear the atoms as they fall? Do you take the time to hear the bubbles form, the grass growing against the wind, the water in its noisy stillness. Do you hear the moon’s whispers and the sun’s drowsy song? Do you draw close to the ants in their march of solidarity and the birds in their chipper conversation? As a society, we would do well to teach people how to listen in the same ways we teach them math and science. It’s a skill we all need if we will be any good at this life. Skills require practice and refinement. I think people hear a lot of things and adopt them as their own, but we don’t listen for the intricacies and details that make all the difference.

It may not be that we don’t want to but that we don’t know how. The first lesson in the course of listening is the first required step– to stop and find a singular focus.

We all either have a physical list of things to accomplish or the one that floats around in the back of our minds and weirdly makes a fun appearance when it’s time to sleep. We multitask and rush.

One of my intentions this year is to take time to listen. Really listen. I want to find myself in the Wood Between the Worlds, again. This means, in many ways, taking the time to stop and quiet the mind. And I don’t just want to listen to people, but I want pay attention when the floor creaks, when the water does its drip-drip and the little clinks in the radiator. I want to make sure I don’t miss the words unsaid. There is a poetry in the world around us that we often miss. I don’t want to miss it.

Another world opens up to us only when we take the time to seek it out. It takes courage to go through the portal that leads to a new experience. I want to fix my ears, I muse, as I take my screwdriver out of my backpack. When we fix our ears, we can fix our world.

Published by Gabriela Yareliz

Gabriela is a writer, editor and attorney. She loves the art of storytelling, and she is based in NYC.

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