To Listen Like a Wild Flower…

Dear Reader:

A couple of years’ back we selected new words for the new year and many of you shared your selection with the rest of the readers. Each year I selected (and continue to select) the same word…Listen. 

I wish I had read Mark Nepo’s book Seven Thousand Ways to Listen back when I first made the selection but now I have read several excerpts from the book and it has impressed upon me that this word will be my “word” for the rest of my life. One quote from the book I especially liked had to do with wildflowers. It read:

The wildflower’s reward for trusting what it senses but doesn’t yet know is to become what is was born to be—a flower whose inevitable place is realized in a small moment of listening to the Oneness, as it joins with elements that were here before it came alive and which will live on once it dies.”
Mark Nepo, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen: Staying Close to What is Sacred 


The wildflowers in Maine were unsurpassed in beauty…from the parks in Portland to the back country roads and especially the land surrounding the famous lighthouses…where it appeared that the butterflies lead us to the most beautiful wildflowers of all.

Can you find the butterfly hidden in the photo to the right?

Heading out early one morning Sherry took us to see the blueberry fields which quite honestly look like they should be called strawberry fields for their red color.

This observation led to one of the funniest moments in Maine…As we got closer to the fields…Sherry started singing “Blueberry fields forever” to the Beatles tune. I laughingly told her she was a true blue Maine native to change the lyrics to blueberry.

Sherry looked startled and then confused…”It isn’t blueberry fields forever?” she asked puzzled. Then I did lose it…’NO…it is Strawberry fields forever.” 

Sherry kept shaking her head in denial as I poorly sang the first stanza from Strawberry Fields Forever so she could hear the correct lyrics…

Let me take you down
‘Cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real
And nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields forever

…S0 just for you Sherry…the Beatles song (on tune and off u-tube…listen and smile!)

Mark Nepo got the idea and title for his book when he spoke with a Nigerian linguist who told him there were 7,000 different languages spoken around the world. Nepo reasoned if there were 7000 languages spoken…then there must be 7000 ways to listen.

He tells this true anecdote:

“He watched a well-dressed man  step over a homeless man on the street to peer more closely at a sweater in a department store window. Observing this scene and how both the homeless man who didn’t flinch and the well-dressed man who stepped over him struck Nepo.

“I stayed there quite awhile, not sure what to do or where to go,” he writes. Then his eyes met those of a man in a wheelchair. He describes how their eyes met and connected for ten to fifteen seconds. “”Neither of us looked away. I heard all he did not say,” he writes. “It pierced my heart.”

At a time when our country is more divided than ever around politics, race, and religion…the importance of listening quietly rather than shouting loudly is more critical than ever.

Mark Nepo explores how listening… this gentle act of kindness… moves us closer together as humans.

“When we dare to quiet our minds and all the thoughts we inherit, the differences between us move back and the things we have in common move forward.”

Yesterday as Luke was examining the old bench and how best to move it…we both heard a woodpecker pecking at one dead tree branch as hard as he could. We both grew quiet at the same time.

A particular rhythm took on another sound…quiet, soothing gurgling from the fountain set against loud pecking on wood…we both started laughing at the same time…a duet perhaps?

Luke spotted the hardworking woodpecker and then pointed him out to me. In this photo look carefully at the dark dead branch in the middle of the tree leaning to the right… and then look halfway up…hard to see…but you can just make out the woodpecker’s outline and reddish tinge on his head.

Let us all practice listening closely to others at what is not being said verbally but is being said from the heart. Let us listen with an Oneness in the Universe.

So until tomorrow

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

***Here comes another God Wink!!!! I can’t believe I was typing the “Sherry” story about the “blueberry fields” when suddenly my thoughts were interrupted by the mailman yelling from the front porch that he had a package for me. I went running in excitement and it was a “surcie” from Sherry. Unbelievable timing!

The note attached to the gifts started out “Dahling”…so funny! Sherry I love love love my ornaments…can hardly wait to put them on my Christmas tree this holiday season and remember my Maine adventure!

These “meeces” 🙂 are precious…the one in front looks like he is wearing an LLBEAN plaid outfit and look at the other moose with “Sammy the Cardinal” sitting on top of his moose snout. The third gift is a Christmas ‘basket tree hanging’ filled with lights- the basket is made from miniature antlers…love them all!…each individual moose and all the moose together! 🙂  🙂  🙂 What a thoughtful, fun gift Sherry…one I will treasure and remember each Christmas!

*Mandy sent me this picture of Eva Cate’s new reading buddy…a little kindergarten boy she is helping…what a confident ‘boost’ for both students. Great idea! And the secret to success is listening...listening to each other  read and encouraging each other. A wonderful gift of kindness.

*** Look who won third place  in the Summerville Artist Guild Exhibition! — at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center (*I am sure it was our title we readers gave the painting that took it over the top “Come Sit A Spell”!!!!!) 🙂 Congratulations Anne!

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to To Listen Like a Wild Flower…

  1. bcparkison says:

    congrats to Anne. Of course we knew her painting was awinner.
    And…there is not much that can outmatch a field of wild flowers.


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