While these days I live in a small city, I was brought up in “the sticks.” Hay fields and woods surround the house my parents moved us to in the late 1970s. Instead of the rushing of cars or hum of the neighbors heating system, my world was rustling maple leaves, birdsong, gentle rainstorms and constant breezes. I find myself reminiscing about peaceful afternoons on the front porch and walks in the fields.
From that experience, the sounds of nature are a wellspring of creativity for me. The voices of God’s green earth bring a peace to my soul and clarity to my mind that can have a big impact on how I do my work.
During the summer, I can open my office window to catch a breeze or the rumble of a passing thunderstorm. But when the city sounds creep through — or when the weather is too cold — an open window just doesn’t do the trick.
Thanks to my technical side, I have found ways to feed my need for nature. I play recordings I’ve made of a rushing stream, or the oceanside, or an approaching thunderstorm. I also use a program called White Noise that allows me to select from dozens of different nature sounds and mix them together to simulate any natural environment. As I write this, I hear waves crashing, a light rain and a breeze through windchimes.
While they are digital snippets of the real thing, hearing the natural world creates an atmosphere conducive to writing about the work and spirit of our Church. As I reviewed the contributions to this month’s issue — stories of the work at Star Mountain, of a bring-your-own-Bible service, of a young pastor being recognized for his work, or of a preview of the spring’s Synods and Gatherings — those crashing waves and gentle breezes made it possible to focus and feel the Spirit moving through the words.
I hope you enjoy this month’s issue. For me, it’s back to work with the sounds of crickets, a trickling brook and a light breeze filling my office…
Mike Riess, Editor