Recently I visited a friend who lives in an idyllic country setting. She read my column about stillness being an ointment and invited me to come and listen to her country noises.
She had written, “There are noises in the country, just not loud city noises. There is the creaking of the porch swing and the fluttering of hummingbird wings. You hear the birds, bees, insects, cows, Re-Tailed Hawks, squirrels and, if you are lucky, a turkey or a deer. You can hear bullfrogs and sometimes the well gurgles. You can hear the wind in the trees, the sound of nearby streams and if you are very lucky, you might hear a bobcat.”
All this came true and it was a healing experience for me -- a return to the Watering Trough of my childhood before the community became urbanized. As I drank coffee the next morning, I watched five deer graze in her front yard.
People are so different in the way they feel about country noises. A friend of mine whose nerves were shot in Vietnam was visiting Al Harvey on Bakewell Mountain. As they sat on the front porch at sundown the tree frogs and crickets began to make their music. He said, “What’s that noise?” and Al said, “Tree frogs and crickets.” Then the jarflies began their hypnotic buzz and he said, “What was that?” Al said, “Jar flies.” He wiped the sweat from his brown and asked, “How do you stand all this noise?”
I sat on that same porch one night at nightfall and those same noises inspired me to write a song with these lines:
I got tired and left the city and its inhumanity
Its people cold as sidewalks running crazy in the streets
People call and say, “What’s happening?” and I’m as honest as can be
I say nothing’s going down
There’s nothing shaking but the leaves
Got some water fit for drinking, muscadine wine sure to please
Got a front porch fit for thinking, got some air that’s fit to breathe
But I ain’t got no appointments, no sirens screaming in the streets
There’s nothing going down
Nothing shaking but the leaves
Ain’t no church on this old mountain but praying’s good among the trees
Out here in God’s own creation, you can feel Him in the breeze
Lord, whatever time you give me, let me spend it peacefully
Here where nothing’s going down
Where nothings shaking but the leaves
© Happy Doghouse Music, BMI
I played a songwriter showcase at Balsam, N.C., Country Inn a couple of years ago with Taylor Pie of Pozo Seco fame. We got there early to do some songwriting and one of the songs we wrote extols the peace of that wondrous place nestled on a hillside with no phones or TVs in the rooms. It is called “Back to Balsam Blues” and will be on my next album of acoustic blues.
One thing I love about my present home is the large lot with a big bird-feeding area and plenty of room for a garden. I am only ten minutes from downtown and two minutes from a major shopping mall but this little dead end street of old homes keeps my love of country noises alive.
I live just 3 blocks from Chickamauga Lake and often walk that shoreline hunting pieces of driftwood. My daughter makes beautiful things out of my driftwood. On the cover of my Long John Silver bookazine is her sculpture of Long John sitting on a piece of driftwood. Something about driftwood resonates with a quiet place in my soul.
We can always go to those quiet places in our soul when we are unable to go to the country and see deer grazing in the front yard. Store them up in your mind and you can go there when you wish like a canoe quietly gliding across a still lake as the first rays of sunlight chase away the morning mists.
Click here to order your own copy of
Long John Cardinal--and the Best of Dalton Roberts
only $4.95 with no charge for shipping and handling.
This material should be treated as copyrighted by the author and/or IPS Features. It should not be reproduced without authorization except by individuals for non-commercial use.