His listening led him into childhood moments: the arc of a swing, the silence between tocks of a grandfather clock, a heron taking flight across a meadow.

He remembered the piping of birds on hot afternoons in the hills, the river murmuring along the stony banks, insects in the summer stillness, the whirring of a quail’s wings in the Welsh woodlands.

Propr dissolved into listening as other people dissolved into their fantasies. It was the closest he ever got to a religious experience. While others would go to church to worship, Propr would sit on the banks of a river, or lie on the floor of a forest, and lose himself in concerts of sound.

He would listen with eyes closed to the most remote of sounds: the fall of a feather, the distant dance of a bumble bee, waves on the riverbank, the wind in faraway trees, the murmur of the open sky, even the diaphanous light of the sun.

Listening to such subtleties, he could no longer distinguish between earth and sky, water and wind. All merged into a listening that opened out into the infinite vastness of being.

Ben Okri, The Age of Magic

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