For a long time, I’ve believed in whispering. Sometimes, in anything, a whisper is far more powerful than a shout. Near silence is better than volume. For in that moment, susurrus — that murmuring in quietude — can be captivating. Perhaps you’ve noticed that, in calming the crying child, a whisper is a reaching in, to a conclave of quiet, that will achieve more than trying to raise the volume above the wail. It is a gathering in, a closeness, a calling into a realm of connection that is different than the sounding yell. Draw nigh.
Someone told me, three decades ago, that birds respond to a kind of quiet swishing sound. And I have worked at this, since then. So too, with crows and ravens, quiet clicking and imitating their throaty chortling will stay them — at least to their curiosity, for a moment. Get too close, and they might flee. Otherwise, they might
not…stay: watch you.
So too, then, with other animals. And in living on an island, where there are deer roaming, I’ve spoken to them, over the years. And there are families, or solo animals. And to each, perhaps, there is a softened speech that is attractive, rather than repulsive. So when they have come near, I’ve spoken to them, quietly. Just a murmuring.
And you can clearly tell whether it’s working, merely by watching their ears. And their eyes. And you get to their level, never standing, but kneeling to their spirit.
So, in one moonlit night, far in the predawn, perhaps some time after three in the morning, I was out, as I am often in the early hours, standing and listening. There came those quiet and tentative steps, in the whitened light and deep shadows, a lone doe. And I’d recognized her, in her steps — which are cautious. Each animal has its stride.
I got some bread to feed her and went out. And I sat there, whispering to her. And she came closer and closer — almost like she couldn’t quite see, inquiring after the sound. But as she came into the moonlight, she came closer. And closer. And I offered the smallest piece of bread, outreached to her. And then rather than retreating, as I murmured, she came closer, till she was nearly in my lap. And she stayed there, looking into me, and I, into her. And we communed in this time, I scenting her, she: me. She nuzzling me and I reaching to her. This, then, one in a series of encounters, with her, her frisky fawns — and others, alone.
These pictures I took myself, handheld, in the dark — I could see little; I merely held the camera and pointed it in my (our) direction. She didn’t react to the flashing lights, nor the reddened sensing beam of the focusing meter.
Meanwhile, I continue to whisper…calling others to the fold and unfolding of my experience.