Sound Walks In Your Garden

Linda Wiggen Kraft

By Linda Wiggen Kraft, Healthy Planet Green & Growing Editor

If you’ve heard of Slow Food and other “slow” experiences like Slow Art, you know the concept. Experience life in a calm, thoughtful and delightful way that opens up your senses to fully experience what is going on around and within you. All too often when we experience spaces like a garden, or an art museum, we spend a few seconds looking at different objects and scenes that catch our eye. All too often, we experience gardens in a walk-by way, trying to see everything and in some ways seeing and sensing little. 

The Missouri Botanical Garden now offers Sound Walk guided meditations that can be found in a corner of an exhibit in the Sachs Museum called Botanical Resonance: Plants and Sounds in the Garden. For me this is the most wonderous gift of the exhibit. It lets the listener experience the garden in a deeper and fuller way then the usual walk-by way of garden gazing. The exhibit shares other gifts too. There is a large quilt covering all the walls of one gallery room. The quilt graphically portrays the sounds and scents of plants communicating with each other underground and in the air around them. Shown are plants communicating via roots and also grass screaming as it is cut, giving off the freshly mown grass smell. Another gallery room surrounds the listener with myriad sounds of a rain forest offering a hands-on vibration of the sounds. The main room’s display cases highlight music made through the medium of wood, seeds and other plant parts. It is in this room in the far corner, almost hidden, that the gem of the exhibit is found. On the wall is a short explanation and access to two guided meditations called Sound Walks. Access to these approximately 20 minute meditations is via QR codes. The gentle voice of Annika Kappner, a sound artist, guides the listener to go outside into the gardens, slow down, open awareness and senses to the connections and communications of the garden. 

These Sound Walks inspired me to create several different guided meditations* that can be listened to in private or public gardens. They are around five and ten minutes long. Guided meditation has been part of my life for many decades. I love experiencing them and creating them. They are always part of my creativity classes. Years ago, I taught a class at the Missouri Botanical Garden where a guided meditation was part of the class. Most often the comments afterwards were that the guided meditation was the highlight of the class. With these garden meditations, my goal is to let the listener slow down and fully experience the connections of what is happening outside of the body and inside. In a state of relaxation with guiding words, there is an exchange and a unity. The breath we take in is the breath the plants have exhaled. The breath we exhale becomes what the plants take in. It is circle and cycle of life-giving atmosphere. Our senses become enlivened in the garden with enhanced sights, scents, tactile touches, sound and often the taste of food for our body and souls. 

Take time to experience a garden with Sound Walks and guided meditations. A whole new way of being one with nature will take place.

*My garden guided meditations are available on my Sept. blog at: https://creativityforthesoul.com/blog/ Open the September blog and scroll down to the meditations to listen. 

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a landscape designer who creates holistic and organic gardens. She is also an artist and creativity workshop leader. Her next Creativity & Mandala workshop is Oct 22. Find out more, subscribe to her blog and Instagram at www.CreativityForTheSoul.com, Call her at 314 504-4266