A while ago I studied with an amazing couple that taught me about quietly listening to land. I learned to study different cues in the surrounding landscape including impressions/prints in soil, soft sediment, animal remnants and fecal matter. Lots of time has gone by since I have last seen them, though I think of them often.
The other day, I hand-made a small batch of paper using some archival scraps that I had left over from an earlier print project. I laid the wet, newly formed sheets outside on my wooden deck to dry in the sun.
I let it lay, and the next morning I was surprised and happy to find some evidence of the mischief that takes place right off of my deck. At night, I hear the coyotes gather and howl. I hear the waves roll and beat against the heavy rocks of the shore. I hear the salty wind rustle the wild nettles, and shake the pollen loose from the old willows. But here, so close to the glass of my bedroom door, I heard no local sound-- this being treads gently.
There is no anxiety in this stance. Just a small animal standing still, taking notice.