Wind Song

Ken Cooper, Cultural Consultant for Fish, Timber and Wildlife of the Lummi Tribe of Washington state, listens to the "trees as they talk to one another, the songs in the wind, the stories of the pathway that started a long time ago…When I come back I play the song that I hear floating on the wind and play the feeling that I hear coming out of those trees that are pained, that know they’re going to be cut down. They do talk. They have a lot to teach us. Anybody who goes in the mountains and sees beauty has a form of healing."

I’ve been listening to the wind though I’m not yet sufficiently silent to form sense out of the sound. The sound of the breeze among the tree tops captures my attention as sharply as the cawing of crows. I understand neither but I know intuitively that something is being communicated. Somewhere I read that the song of trees has been recorded between 50 and 500 kilohertz, well above the 20 kilohertz limit of human hearing.

There is also a wind song that is audible. In Heaven’s Breath, Lyall Watson wrote "Redwoods and cypress tend to build up a dense background of white sound, casuarinas exaggerate shamelessly, amplifying the easiest sea breeze into an incipient gale; but the virtuoso performers are undoubtedly the broad-needled pines." Minute eddies and ripples form to leeward of each pine needle, the turbulence creating a whisper on the wind. All the small sounds gather to form a thunderous chorus in a gale. The Japanese make pilgrimages to listen to the sound of a dry gale in the pine forests. They call it matsukaze, the wind that knows the song of the pines. Matsukaze (literally, wind in the pines) evokes among the Japanese a feeling of exquisite solitude and melancholy.

Technorati tags: wind, windsong, trees

One thought on “Wind Song”

  1. Charles,
    The adjective “wonderful” really applies in what you’re writing here.
    Last night we had dinner with friends who used to live in Port Townsend. I told them about your blog and gave them the URL so they can stay connected to the Olympic Peninsula.

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