One of my favourite thing to do with students of all ages outdoors is to get them to be still and listen. It’s something we do surprisingly little of at any age.
This afternoon, waiting for the kids at piano lessons, I sat in the car and closed my eyes. I did it because I was tired and have a head cold, and it just felt good. But with my eyes closed, I naturally began to listen more.
Someone in the next block was mowing their lawn. House sparrows flitted and chattered in the tree across the street. Starlings warbled from the power lines. The leaves of the birch tree next to the car fluttered in the wind. A door opened somewhere, and whoever stepped outside lifted the lid of a metal rubbish bin, then set it down again and went indoors. A dog barked several streets away. An airplane flew overhead. A fly buzzed past the open car window. Someone walked down the sidewalk. Crickets chirped from the grass, and a lone cicada stuttered from a tree down the street.
I might have noticed some of these things without closing my eyes and sitting still, but would have missed many of them.
There is always so much to be done, I am rarely still. But it only takes a minute to close my eyes and listen to the world around me—I really should do it more often.