Lightly Child, Lightly

I have a favorite sound.

To be precise, it’s not a singular sound but a multitude.

Have you ever stood in the presence of a tree and listened to the wind pass through its leaves? The roots and body stand defiant and unmoved. But listen. The branches stretch out their tongues and whisper shhhhh.

Trees make symphonies without their trunks ever moving, almost as if the stillness of their centers amplifies their sound. The tree may appear still, but if you look closer, you’ll see that each leaf flails with breath. The tree may seem alone, but plow deep and you’ll unearth its secret gnarled roots—the grotesque and the beautiful—creeping in the soil, reaching toward the ancestors.

Thomas Merton said, “No writing on the solitary, meditative dimensions of life can say anything that has not already been said better by the wind in the pine trees.” I hold this close.


  • Photo:  DK @ Daybreak 6:54 am August 29, 2021.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”


  1. I so love it too and there is a word for it: psithurism.

    “These sounds of wind in the trees and the rustling of leaves have enchanted so many people over time that they invented a word to describe them: psithurism. Like many words that begin with “ps,” the “p” at the beginning of psithurism is silent, and the word is pronounced sith-err-iz-um.”

    Liked by 6 people

  2. I, too, am mesmerized by this sound (and now know what to call it…thank you, Beth!) This passage brought to mind Suzanne Simard’s book, ‘Finding the Mother Tree.’ So much happening below the surface….❤️

    Liked by 4 people

  3. The symphony of sound from the trees, sounds that change with the type of leaf that is singing – another gift from Mother Nature. The differences can be subtle, and demand your attention if you’re fortunate enough to stop and listen. Beth taught us both something today – never heard of the word, and I love the way it sounds – its pronunciation is perfect for its definition!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Not sure if you intentionally chose an Irish name for today’s post, David. Love how he incorporates the Merton quote to finish off this tranquil posture before the eloquence of the trees.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Smiling. No Daniel. It didn’t dawn on me that it was St. Patrick’s Day until later in the morning. (And I think “he” is a “she”) and agree it was a beautiful finish…


  5. I often stand amongst the trees and love the sound. Psithurism from marcescent leaves, particularly. Those leaves, usually oak, that remain on the trees in the winter have a particular sound. Love this. Perfect photo to go with your excerpt 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Bulletholes says:

    Reminds me of something I saved a while back, the first part. Wouldn’t surprise me had a gathered it here, or over at Alive on All Channels.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. YES! I have stood under black cottonwoods in Montana and made a little video of the leaves whispering very loudly as the wind passed through the trees. A memorable experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thanks for sith-err-iz-um,…and for mention of Thomas Merton, an interesting thinker, and tragic life.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks, Beth! the sound of water in a stream burbling over rocks is another soothing sound. I wonder if there is a specific word for that sound, too.


  10. I like sitting under an overhang and listening to rain (and wind) hitting the various leaves in my back garden. We also have a hammock for sitting between trees and watching the leaves rustle in the wind.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. My favorite sound — wind through pine trees — happy memories of Northern Ontario summer camp.

    The verb for the sound is soughing.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. wow…. what a brilliant ‘telling’ post. And I too have a deep love for trees, also for the ‘noise’ (I call it talking, singing) of their leaves. One of my fondest memories is having been at the beach of our lake with my baby, him happily kicking his tiny legs on the rug he was placed and when I watched him, I saw that his joy was the spiel of the leaves of the tree he lied under, the dappling sunlight, the sweet sound of those rustling leaves and the birds singing in the branches! I also had a very special ‘contact’ to my (now) late mother regarding an old tree and the possibility that I would (be allowed to) use ‘that’ old tree for her obituary notice, together with the wonderful poem by Maya Angelou ‘When great trees fall’…. In the end we took another photo I took and another text but I shared it with some friends and they agreed that it was ‘her’.
    This weekend I took photos of a magnificent very, very old tree with a near-empty trunk, I should send you some photos, stunning. BUT very low at this old, distorted tree young branches grew and they pushed out lovely young green leaves. I titled that photo: And spring WILL come…. btw, it snowed over the last 3 days after 2 weeks of perfect spring weather!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: