“To have peace, you can begin by walking peacefully. Everything depends on your steps.” _ Thich Nhat Hanh

We sat on padded tree stumps in a young forest at the UCSC Arboretum, surrounded by a “three-dimensional sound field.” FOREST (for a thousand years…) was a 28-minute sound installation – an amazing work of art – that was shared until June 30.

The sound came from one side, got louder, and faded in the other direction. It was in motion. We heard birds, wind, rain, marching, horses trotting, the sounds of war, and finally choral music. I had the sense we were experiencing life in 28 minutes. Beauty, work, sadness, death and pain, and finally beautiful music and peace.

What do the trees, rocks, earth hear? What do they feel? Time is very different for trees, rocks, and earth. And, yet, I strongly believe that everything is alive and can hear and feel. Our cells, the trees, the rocks, the air. Our earth. Everything.

As we walked out of the forest at the end, I was grateful for two wonderful gifts. One was that time continues. What is urgent for us in our lives now will fade away – and time moves on. This too shall pass. Sometimes stepping back into a bigger picture can help bring calm and peace – especially these days.

The other awareness was that even war, battles, pain and death – comes back to peace and love. The choral music at the end was a beautiful reminder that life keeps changing – and healing. Part of the sweetness was that the choral music lasted longer than the rest of the sounds.

The sound art project closed on June 30. You can read more about it here.

“Being thankful unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough… It brings peace for today.” – Melodie Beattie