Spring is such an uplifting expression of the abundance of the natural world!
Spring is such an uplifting expression of the abundance of the natural world!
Photo of Jack-in-the-pulpit by Lang Elliott
When I was asked to write a blog post in celebration of the coming of spring, I agreed without hesitation…what could be easier than praising this incredible time of year, when the landscape comes alive with the songs of birds and frogs and we are surrounded by leaves unfolding and wildflowers blooming? Spring is such an uplifting expression of the abundance of the natural world!
As I began writing, it suddenly occurred to me that my unbridled gratefulness for this time of year is perhaps best put forth poetically, and this reminded me of a piece I began writing four years ago: “My Song to Nature, A Poetic Celebration Through the Seasons”. Utilizing fairly simple rhyming schemes, the verse is infused with a child-like spirit, and also informed by my decades of study of natural history. The poem is intended to communicate the joy I felt as a young boy exploring nature; a sentiment that is still quite alive within me as I approach my seventieth birthday (how fortunate to still be here now!).
Sadly, “My Song to Nature” is currently unfinished, its progress having been delayed by my recent ordeal with throat cancer. While I had managed to set the tone of the poem by writing a number of verses, I was forced to take a break as I healed from the cancer treatment. Once I became active again, work on the poem was further delayed as other projects came to the fore including my current focus on healing soundscapes. Rest assured, however, that I fully intend to complete my poem before the years finally take their toll.
Although unfinished, I would nonetheless like to share several introductory stanzas that I wrote four years ago, because they convey my everlasting gratefulness to be alive here on earth, naturally inclined to attune myself to nature’s music and embrace its captivating rhythms and melodies.
Lang, now and then (1955)
Below is the beginning of “My Song to Nature,” presented as spoken-word and set against a springtime soundscape recorded along a tributary of the Buffalo River in the Ozark Mountains of northern Arkansas…a gently babbling brook accompanied by the uplifting sounds of birds:
For those who want to hear “just nature,” the background soundscape itself is featured here:
Does this poem reflect your own love of nature and the joy you feel now and also felt as a child, when spending time outdoors? I would love to hear from you in the reflection area below…
Lang Elliott, a nature author, speaker, cinematographer, sound recordist, photographer, and poet. Learn more about Lang and browse his premium pure nature recordings at Music of Nature. For more soundscapes visit our ever expanding Sound Sanctuary.
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You are forever young, Lang, with words and sounds like these in your heart. Thank you for sharing.
You’re welcome GratefulT … I do indeed have a bit of “forever youngness” holding steady within, and I do hope it accompanies me all the way through to the end.
ps. great shot of the butterfly on the frog’s nose!
Thank you so much for your voice reading the poem. It sounds won-der-ful, I wouldn’t have guessed that you recorded it after your treatment!
So happy that you have healed! And thank you for the gift of your nature sound recordings and sound sanctuary!
Lots of love,
Thank you Ursula … my voice “works”, and of that I am grateful!
Last night, a phrase from an Emily Dickinson poem about a “light in spring” kept hounding me so much I actually looked the poem up and printed it out ! Your poem and nature sounds feel like the most natural of ‘next steps’ of the unfolding that spring is. In particular, your voice and the smile that shines out from your face SO reflect that Light Emily refers to. Thank you Lang, for sharing your Light, and for helping each of us re-member the wonder of spring 🙂
I just read Emily’s poem “A Light Exists in Spring”, for the very first time. It’s great and thank you so much for the reference!
I love your song to nature and the playful nature child so very much alive within you. It is a gift. Growing up in Ireland with rolling hills, fields and streams, I used to sit in a yew tree and imagine what it would be like to be, a bird or a bee, to soar for hours. I was fascinated by the fairy rings, which through my child’s eye, just magically appeared. And then there was the one-legged crow with the crooked beak, who just showed up one day and stayed. Thank you for your voice and love of this more than human world.
And thank you Siobhan for taking such good care of the one-legged crow!
What a joy to find here this morning your song to nature! Thank you, Lang! I dearly love the poem, its rhythms and images, and especially to hear you read it — your voice both buoyant and resonant. It is a magical effect with the springtime streamscape singing sweet and low there beside you. I smiled throughout and felt tears welling as you described the robin’s song reaching into you. And for a moment I was taken back to early carefree times at my grandmother’s house, where I spent whole days playing in the rocky creek and fell asleep at night to whippoorwill song. I am so happy for your healing, Lang, and may I wish you an early, very happy seventieth birthday with many more stanzas to come!
Thank you grateful sea! As you might guess, I’m very much looking forward to my 70th birthday. I view it as a significant milestone in my life and I never thought I would make it this far. If I’ve learned anything of value along the way, it is: relax, be kind, enjoy friends, celebrate nature, and be grateful for time alive on planet earth.
Being from Missouri, but having lived in Colorado for the past 30 years, your poem and sounds of nature brought back great memories for me spent in the Ozark area and family floats on the Buffalo. More importantly, as I have become a “bit” older (54 years) I have realized that I have experienced many human, emotional, internal springs and there are more to come. One of my newest springs/beginnings is working on my pursuit of creative arts such as photography. With Loving Kindness, Tom
Thomas: When I was a student at the University of Missouri (I was born in nearby Mexico, MO), I hooked up with a herpetology professor and his crew of grad students, and we we would go on frequent “float trips” to various rivers in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. The prof’s idea of a float included drinking lots of beer and there were times when we got so tipsy that we flipped our canoe (don’t worry, we were very committed to hauling out all our garbage in trash bags). The high point was big stones in search of Hellbenders (giant aquatic salamanders). We found a lot of them, and of course let them all go.p.s. Good luck with your photography as spring explodes in your area.
Oh Lang, thank you for this most lovely start to my day! As I listen to you and this morning’s spring birdsongs outside who join in chorus with your soundscape, I experience your “joy of heart.” Your enchanting verse, recited in your compelling voice is a fresh and dear celebration of Spring and your spirit. I love it!
Margaret: Glad to hear you like sound of my voice. I struggled with it, because, as you know, my voice was greatly affected by the cancer treatment. I actually did the narration two or three times, waiting for a day when my voice seemed “good enough” to produce a decent result. I’m fairly happy with the sound, but hope to improve on my delivery in future versions of the poem.
Thank you, Lang, for sharing your joyous words and this beautiful soundscape. I have listened to several of them in the past, and they take me “right there,” into the space where a person can breathe. I recall as a child not having to seek nature, or go somewhere to appreciate it. It was so readily there, before neighborhoods “fully developed” the land. Trees all around, and all the life that was included within and among them. It is easy enough to feel home-less now, having to get in the car now to drive to a place rich with the multi-generational plant and wild-life, embraced by the music of creation. I am grateful for your joy, your spirit, your creativity in sharing your life “work” with us here. May you be healed of your cancer so that you may continue to love this world through who you are. Namaste.
Pilgrim: Thank you so much for pointing out that as a child nature was all around you … you didn’t have to go anywhere special to find it. That was the case with me. I lived on the edge of town (Mexico, Missouri) and had forests, fields and streams right at my doorstep. What a joy that was. The reason my parents moved out of town was that my father helped create a golf course and then had a house built overlooking the course. He’s wasn’t a nature-guy by any means, but the golf course just happened to be near two lakes, both surrounded by woods. What a delight that was for me. There was even a waterfall that would surge after rains. And ponds in fields where I would stare into the water and see tiny creatures, such as Cyclops, a slender crustacean with one black eye. These days I’d need a microscope to see one, but back then my young eyes saw them everywhere in shallow water at pond’s edge. Without doubt, exploring pond life was one of my most treasured nature experiences as a child.
BTW, my throat cancer was caught early and was considered 90% “curable”. Now, three years later, they say it’s highly unlikely it will come back. My only symptom was a swollen tonsil. The problem has to do with the treatment, which is brutal … especially the radiation because it literally burns the inside of one’s throat and causes permanent and irreversible damage. I hope in the future that less invasive treatments are discovered.
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