Friday, September 18, 2009

Looking and Listening

Me: "Why is it that you always find money on the ground?"
Kindergarten Noah: "Because I'm always looking for it."

One of the blessings of songwriting is that it helps you pay attention to the world. You're always looking for ideas, parables that you stumble into from day to day. You're always trying to peer just beneath the surface of seemingly ordinary things. The reward is discovering a few rich ideas that find their way into music.

I found that preaching offers the same blessing, and now I see it in blogging. I'm trying to write once a day, and that fact alone helps me look a little closer at day-to-day occurances. Frederick Buechner, using another metaphor, calls it "listening to your life."

It was this very idea that I came home with from the Abbey of Gethsemani this summer. "This is my Father's world and to my listening ears all nature sings and 'round me rings the music of the spheres." Creation is singing God's songs. I knew that I needed to be a better listener. Here is a poem that I wrote while I was there called "The Cloud and the Ant." It is about looking and listening.

The Cloud and the Ant

Above, the cloud sails
away from the setting sun
that paints emerald and sapphire
across its shifting form.

Below, the ant crawls about
on the ivy leaves and stone
busy about some task
with such remarkable detail.

Above and below,
the cloud and the ant,
the heavenly and the earth-bound.
Another moment, another chair
and I’d have missed them both.

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