The trail through my local suburban woodland in Blacksburg is about as far from the coast as one can be and still stand in Virginia, but when I stopped and closed my eyes Monday morning I was instantly transported to a beach soundscape. 

The wind traced arcs through the sky with tree branches and, in the process, sounded just like a roaring surf on a winter beach.It’s hard to NOT be present to the moment, and the weather, when the mercury is hovering in the low 20s (fahrenheit) and the wind is poking and prying into every possible crack in your cold weather armor. That’s one upside of a frigid, blustery day!Another benefit, at least from a mindfulness perspective, is that on a windy day the landscape is filled with movement and motion. The staid, familiar landscape is dancing, trees and grasses are swaying to the beat of the breeze, keeping the eyes and mind entertained.
My ears are entertained, too, because along with the sound of surf I hear a kind of natural wind chime. There’s a small stand of bamboo growing along one segment of the Huckleberry trail, escaped from someone’s backyard I suppose. On windy days the stalks bump and jostle one another, forming meandering melodies.  I quiet my judgmental mind for a while and enjoy their music.The woods have been pretty quiet lately. Many mornings, Dash and I are the only ones on the trail, as both human and non-human residents hole up in their dens and nests, avoiding cold temperatures, rain, and snow. But the neighborhood birds were out and about this morning, looking for breakfast and warming up their singing voices… even though it was hard to be heard over tree limbs creaking and moaning.

I guess Spring will be blowing into town in no time at all!

[Thanks to the following photographers for making their work available through the Creative Commons license: Kim Manley Ort, Elizabeth Donoghue, Richard Miles., Johan BlomströmJeff Laitila, and John Carrel© 2017 Sidewalk Zendo. Reprints welcomed with written permission from the author.]

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