Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Listening Game

Today we played the Listening Game while hanging out in the desert under a palo verde tree. Here are the sounds we heard:

1. Gambel's quail call
2. Verdin call
3. airplanes
4. car traffic
5. breathing
6. Cactus wren call
7. Farting
8. insects buzzing
9. Curve-billed thrasher call
10. people talking on the trail

In between all of that was quiet. Pure quiet.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Green Time

Whenever we can, my son and I go out into the desert and rest inside the canopy of a palo verde tree where we can breathe air freshly made from its green bark and peer out through branches to the cactus and blue sky. This is our "green time," an anecdote to "screen time," which seems to keep us in its glowing grip too many hours of each day. In this shelter I teach my son the fine art of hanging out, listening for birds and lizards, watching the sky change colors, and smelling the dry earth and creosote. He always wants to bring along a book to read, which I generally encourage at home, but here, I want him to put it away and just be in the desert. It startles me that this is so hard for him. Screen time has taught him to need constant noise and action. The natural quiet and stillness bores and somewhat disturbs him. This fact disturbs me even more.

I'm going up into the desert to sit under a palo verde tree and think about this.