I’m going to remember this.

It all started with Thursday’s post, Lightly Child, Lightly. Where Cole Arthur Riley writes: “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.” 

This post triggered a number of comments.

Beth, a school teacher, teaches me what that sound is: “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.

Lori, follows by sharing: “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

Mimi then shares: “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!”

Caitlin, here next door in NY State, furthers my education.  “My favorite sound — wind through pine trees — happy memories of Northern Ontario summer camp…The verb for the sound is soughing.”  I had to google it. A Verb: soughing (of the wind in trees, the sea, etc.) make a moaning, whistling, or rushing sound. ‘the soughing of the wind in the canopy of branches’.

Kevin, in Concord, CA, “likes 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.”

Doug’s favorite soothing sound “is the sound of water in a stream burbling over rocks” and he wonders “if there is a specific word for that sound, too.”

Anneli has “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.

Dale, once again, dropping 10-letter words requiring me to wear a dictionary on my hip to decipher: “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.”

And for me, I’m with all of you.  Wind through the trees, branches, leaves. Listening to rain. Sitting in hammocks. Stream burbling over rocks.

And yet, there’s one other sound of notable mention. [Read more…]

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.


Notes:

  • 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.”

Monday Morning Wake-up Call

What I meant was, some people stand in front of a tree and the first thing they notice is the trunk. These are the ones who prioritize order, safety, rules, continuity. Then there are those who pick out the branches before anything else. They yearn for change, a sense of freedom. And then there are those who are drawn to the roots, though concealed under the ground. They have a deep emotional attachment to their heritage, identity, traditions …’ ‘So which one are you?’

Elif Shafak, The Island of Missing Trees: A Novel (Bloomsbury Publishing; 1st edition (November 2, 2021)


Notes:

No religion except…

…No religion except whatever Mary Oliver had going on.


Notes:

  • Quote: Monkcore.
  • T-Shirt: Online Ceramics
  • Inspired by: “Oh, good scholar, I say to myself, how can you help but grow wise with such teachings as these— the untrimmable light of the world, the ocean’s shine, the prayers that are made out of grass?” —  Mary Oliver, from “Mindful” in “Why I Wake Early” (via Alive on All Channels)

Walking. And Ranting.

5:35 a.m. Clear. Cool. 39° F. I open the door, step out onto the front porch, and look out at the skyline. It’s as fresh as if it occurred 5 minutes ago, triggering disbelief and racing its way on to fury.

Yes, it could have been any number of topics that I came across in this morning’s paper. “When do we get to use guns?…How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?” Or, “…refusal to provide information to the House Committee investigating the Jan 6 attack on the Capitol. Or, “What abortion access looks like in Mississippi.” Or, “Rep Congressman shared a threatening voicemail he received following his vote to pass the $1.2T infrastructure bills…’I hope your f—- family dies…you f— piece of f—- s—. Traitor.”

This all would have been adequate kindling to light a raging fire. But, no. As worthy as these subjects are, they did not. Not at that moment.

And what’s the line from Tip O’Neil? ‘All Politics is local.”

No, this has nothing to do with politics. And everything to do with local. Like the neighborhood.

[Read more…]

Saturday Morning

If you will grant me one vivid morning, I can chain it to me for fifty years.

— William Stafford, from Sound of the Ax: Aphorisms and Poems


Notes:

Trees and water. Simple and beautiful. Beautiful and simple.

The water had been so cold. Its coldness seemed to spread not only from my throat and into my thorax, but also from the cavity of my mouth and into my head. But it was a different coldness than was in the air. This one was pleasant, as if smoothing and enfolding. And what was inside me became clearer to me, too. My heart beating with such simple beauty. The blood streaming to every part of my body. Yes, the blood streaming, the heart beating, and the emotions too, likewise of such simple beauty, diffusing in a different way from the blood, moving more like shadows on the ground when the sun passed behind a cloud, suddenly to re-emerge, flooding everything, first in one way, which was joy, then in another, which was sadness. And all as the heart beat and beat. And the trees grew, the water ran, the moon shone, the sun burned. The heart and the blood. Joy and sadness. Trees and water. Simple and beautiful. Beautiful and simple.

Karl Ove Knausgaard, The Morning Star: A Novel. (Martin Aitken, Translator.) (Penguin Press, September 28, 2021)


Notes:

Sunday Morning


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 7:33 to 7:55 am, March 21, 2021. 35° F. Calf Pasture Beach, Norwalk, CTNotes:
  • Inspired by:
    • As we grow old, the beauty steals inward.” (Ralph Waldon Emerson, 1803-1882)
    • We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting.” (Kahlil Gibran, 1883 – 1931)

 

Walking. With Toko-pa.

283 days. Consecutive. Cove Island Park morning walk.

14° F, feels like 5° F temp. What fresh hell is this? (Dorothy Parker)

I’m near the end of my loop.  Boots swish through the crusty snow. I’m making my way to Cove Island Point.

And there it was.

It pierced through my tuk…

and through the hoodie pulled over my tuk…

and somehow she pierced through the noise cancelling earbuds that were pumping Taylor Swift’s EvermoreAnd I was catching my breath / Barefoot in the wildest winter.

I snap a picture, that one above. And pause to watch.

The rustling of this single, dry leaf, clinging to the branch by its ever-so-thin stem, and shivering. How delicate. How fragile. How barefoot in the wildest winter.

The north wind gusts, she shudders, and I shudder along with her.

Toko-pa Turner: What is wild in us are the ways in which we meet something freshly and not by habit. Wild is to be full-body alive in response to the conversation life is having with us; the caress of the wind which cools your skin after the sun has penetrated it with warmth. The shadow cast by a soaring bird above. The unmediated glance, surprised by beauty.

The unmediated glance surprised by beauty.

And for that moment…full-body alive.


Notes:

Daybreak. The Day After…


Photo: DK. Daybreak. Light Rain. 6:15 am. to 7:00 am, February 2, 2021. 33° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

Photos: DK @ Daybreak. Snow flurries. 6:05 am. to 6:28 am, February 1, 2021.  26° F, feels like 11° F, wind gusts up to 44 mph. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.

Three of my best friends

Having just read “The Overstory,” by Richard Powers, I was delighted to learn more about Suzanne Simard, an inspiration for Patricia Westerford, who despite derision and opposition, proved trees communicate among themselves. When I was a child growing up in Marblehead, Mass., three of my best friends were trees: two oaks and a white pine. I named them, climbed them and talked to them knowing they recognized me and enjoyed my company. Now, at 88, all my two-legged friends are gone, but my tree friends are still standing. I visited them last summer, glad to see them tall, strong and healthy.

—  Cynthia Baketel Systrom, Stuart, FL in a reader’s letter to the editor in response to Ferris Jabr’s “The Social Life of Forests in the NY Times Magazine 12/6/20 issue (New York Times Magazine, Dec 20, 2020)


Photo: DK’s 3 Sisters. Cove Island Park. 6:56 am. January 6, 2021.

Sunday Morning


Photo: DK, 6:30, 6:35 and 7:12 a.m., Sunday, Nov 29, 2020, 33° F.  Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.

Lightly Child, Lightly.

Of all the things I wondered about on this land, I wondered the hardest about the seduction of certain geographies that feel like home — not by story or blood but merely by their forms and colors. How our perceptions are our only internal map of the world, how there are places that claim you and places that warn you away. How you can fall in love with the light.

Ellen Meloy, The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky (Vintage; July 8, 2003)


Notes:

  • Quote: Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels
    Photo: DK @Daybreak. November 27, 2020. 7:05 am. 45° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford CT
  • 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.”

Lightly Child, Lightly

You wander in and out of rain.
The city encloses you. You feel
the darkening of its metals, above ground
and below. Every night
you touch a boundary you don’t understand.
Even asleep you crave sleep,
you hold the moving hours like water.
Rickety dreams, a high feeling of poplars
at the far edge of two fields. Motors
carry you, or your feet pull you forward
in cool dispersals of color.
What happens each day to you
is delicate craft and commerce, each promising
everything, promising
nothing. You are close…

Your weightlessness
is that of summer trees
and seaside towns…

—  Joanna Klink, from “Portrait In Summer” in “The Nightfields

 


Notes:

  • Photo: jasonjko (Honolulu, Hawaii) Quote: adrasteiax
  • 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.”

Sunday Morning

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
where I left them, asleep like cattle…
After days of labor,
mute in my consternations,
I hear my song at last,
and I sing it. As we sing,
the day turns, the trees move.

~ Wendell Berry, from “I Go Among Trees and Sit Still” in Sabbaths


Notes:

Poem: Thank you The Hammock Papers. Photo: “Sit a While” by Erik Witsoe (Poznan, Poland, Park Solacki)

Sunday Morning

“I’ve been meaning to tell you,” Blake said, his voice serious and quiet. “It isn’t just the yew. Have you noticed the Douglas fir by the science building? Or the blue spruce by the auditorium?” I shook my head. He said recent measurements indicated those trees, too, were growing much faster than they should have been. Blake had talked with several people at the U.S. Forest Service about what he was noticing on campus and they told him recent measurements from around the world showed mature evergreens of all species now regularly exceeding previously recorded height records by twenty to thirty feet. “Why?” I asked. Blake settled a little coral impatiens bursting with buds into the soil. “Global warming,” he said. “I think they’re trying to save us.”

~ Jessica Francis Kane, Rules for Visiting 


Photo: 123RF

Saturday Morning

Had he remained standing there too briefly, chances are he would not have let the place get to him and consequently decided to devote his life to it. A few minutes, maybe. Long enough to hear the wind in the already wind-bent pines, the wind in his ears, the wind in his trouser legs, the pebbles under the soles of his shoes, his hand fiddling with coins in the pocket of his leather jacket, the oystercatcher’s shrill, Morse-like biik-biik-biik-biik. I picture my father turning to the cinematographer and saying: Listen to how quiet this place is.

Linn Ullmann, ”Unquiet: A Novel


Photo Credit

Miracle. All of it.

The Great Cold Snap of 2019 has given us a ton of terms we didn’t know we needed: Frost quakes. Snow squalls. Steam fog. Now we can add another one to the list: ghost apples.  Andrew Sietsema was pruning apple trees in an icy orchard in western Michigan when he came across some.  “I guess it was just cold enough that the ice covering the apple hadn’t melted yet, but it was warm enough that the apple inside turned to complete mush (apples have a lower freezing point than water),” Sietsema told CNN.  “And when I pruned a tree it would be shaken in the process, and the mush would slip out of the bottom of the ‘ghost apple.'”…

~ Doug Criss & Gianluca Mezzofiore, Another byproduct of this extreme cold: ghost apples (CNN, February 8, 2019)


  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.
  • Inspiration: Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Morning Light


Stephen Howard, Morning Light (Tree Island Series), Oil on Board, 800 x 800 mm. (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)

“Born in Masterton, Stephen Howard lived in Christchurch, New Zealand for several years before relocating to Auckland.  Howard paints New Zealand architecture and landscape, but manipulates the subject matter to give an atmospheric sense of strangeness. Contrasts are his thing – a tree against the repetitive patterns of an apartment block, a pale concrete building with a dark doorway and rust over the door. Howard seldom depicts a single place. He takes buildings out of their original context and re-imagines them in a way that questions reality, rather than reflecting it. His work is contradictory in that the organic forms of his colour field works are achieved by calculated attention to detail and the building up of many layers of paint. Howard has been exhibiting in solo and group exhibitions in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland since 1978.”

See more of his incredible art here: Parnell Gallery.

%d bloggers like this: