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Thursday,October 22,2020
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"Do you like the sound of treading on fallen leaves?"

 

  The title is from a famous poem, "Les feuilles mortes" by a late 19th century French poet,  Remy de Gourmont. I would like to ask the same question to DU students. Or rather, I would ask, "Have you ever heard the sound of treading on fallen leaves?," since the students, I think, are too busy with their work or too overwhelmed by popular culture industry to have a chance to hear it. I believe most of them have never heard that crackling sound. Believe me, if you hear it, you will get the feeling you would never imagine you would have.
  Hey, folks! It's autumn now! Don't stay inside! Go out and enjoy the most beautiful season of the year! All the leaves are changing color and turn red and yellow. Go to a park or an old palace nearby and listen to the sound of nature. A Romantic poet, William Wordsworth says, in one of his poems, "Up! up! my friend, and quit your books. Let nature be your teacher." He tells his friend to close the books and go out into nature because we can learn something important from nature. Nature may not help you to improve your TOEIC score but all the benefits from nature can be tremendous although they cannot be objectified with numbers and be made visible: solace, joy, peace, etc.
  You may not realize that it is not that easy to hear the sound of stepping on fallen leaves. But it is not because to do so you should be in a very quiet place with few people around you. If you go in the woods with a bunch of friends, you cannot hear the sound of fallen leaves because you cannot help chatting with them. It seems that people feel awkward when they do something alone. When they go to see a movie, to take a walk or to travel, they will not do it alone because they do not want to be seen as a outcast or they want to do it in a fun way. But in this season why don't you try to avoid something fun and seek solitude? Escape for a moment from the society where being funny is considered the best virtue.
  Being in solitude is not loneliness. It is to deliberately isolate yourself from the hectic society to reflect on yourself and on nature. The tranquility of being in solitude will help you to be sensitive enough to feel the vitality of nature. In nature, all the flowers, trees, clouds, and winds seem to be talking to you. Rather, they are really talking to you but the problem is that you do not have an ear to hear it. The ear is like a radio receiver. Although unseen radio waves travel through the air, you cannot hear anything unless you have that receiver. Only in solitude, you can hear that sound; and you will also hear the whispering sound from your inner heart. I hope all the DU students have a chance to hear the sound of treading on fallen leaves before this beautiful season ends.

Sung-Joong Kim   

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