Listening to birdsong as a spiritual experience
I love going into nature and letting everyday concerns just slip away. The sights and sounds of nature – like, the curve of a tree root or the call of a bird – strike my consciousness with such beauty and force that lose myself in a kind of joyous contemplation.
Taoists say that when you experience nature in this way you’re experiencing the Tao or primordial inexpressible unity at the root of things. As Chang Tzu eloquently puts it: “Heaven and Earth and I live together, and all things are one”.
Many composers have been fascinated by birds: Messaien’s exotic bird calls, Peter Schulthorpe’s signature seagull cries, Benjamin Britten’s circling lark.
When I hear birdsong, I’m not only hearing the birds, I’m experiencing a state of quietude and joy, a spiritual oneness or unity in multiplicity.
My current creative work explores ways of writing or expressing these qualities in music.
Maybe you will hear something of these qualities in this excerpt from my trio ‘Out on the Wind’.
Excerpt (3 mins)