One of the best things about my visit to Sirenia Retreat (on assignment to write about and describe the experience) was closing my eyes and listening to the birds. This is something I am usually too busy to do.
I’m still trying to work out exactly why the sound of birds helped the flow of my writing - but I have some ‘early theories’.
1. Tuning the senses before writing – especially using a different sense – hearing.
Most days, I mainly use my eyes – reading, reading, reading, and doing to tasks that require vision – work reading on a computer, house chores, driving etc. My eyes get tired. It was a refreshing change to close my eyes and actively use my hearing to pick out the many different birdcalls and ‘pin point’ where different calls were coming from. At Sirenia, I seemed to lose any sense of guilt that I should be busy doing something else. I enjoyed just closing my eyes and actively listening to the many different birds. My theory is that we don’t use our sense of hearing enough. In our business lives we actually block out noise. At Sirenia, you can actively savor natural sounds.
2. The Birds calls helped me feel happy and relaxed and the relaxation helped me write. Birds sound so enthusiastic and ‘chirpy’. The birds at Sirenia made me think of that simple, old Bob Marley song “Three Little Birds” and the reassuring sound of the sweet songs of birds. And, true to the song, I did not worry about a thing – about time pressures or achieving my objective.
3. ‘Hearing’ different times of the day. Even if you couldn’t see – you could definitely hear if the sun was about to rise or set - based on the increase in ‘bird activity’ and bird noise. At Sirenia, you really get a sense of the ‘flow’ of the day and this can improve the flow of your writing. The birds were just part of the ‘overall experience’ of experiencing the changes of the tide, and the light, and the birdlife.
The back deck of Sirenia is high up in the trees so you can’t help but hear (and see) the bird life. As you may know, James Bond author Ian Fleming had a special connection to birds. He would escape the English winter for 3 months to stay at his Goldeneye estate in Jamaica. There he would find the serenity, space and solitude to write a new James Bond novel each visit.
Fleming became fond of the many birds around his estate and he actually took the name James Bond from a real person – an American ornithologist and author of a book Birds of the West Indies.