|Cottonwood leaves in early spring, Saint Edward State Park. Lainey Piland photo|
"A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease."
~John MuirWe were treated to plenty of those swirling, worshipful trees during yesterday's brisk storm that blew through the Puget Sound region. A blowing gale can make an exhilaratingly terrifying sound as it tears through leafed and needled branches, but it's those gentle breezes that whisper and rustle that are able to provide a feeling of peace and tranquility for the listener, and for many of us; a sense of home. During the hike to Fragrance Lake a few weeks back, at one point a sudden breeze swept through the forest and surrounded us with whispering tree voices, flowing and liquid as they filled the atmosphere. I found myself sighing and commenting to my fellow hikers that I missed that sound, having grown up in a home surrounded by woods frequented by those gentle breezes, especially on summer afternoons.
If you didn't get enough rustling leaves and blustery breezes yesterday, take a listen to the video below:
Not only does it soothe the soul, but the sound of air moving through the trees actually helps to reduce noise pollution. The rustling of leaves and needles act as white noise that drowns out unpleasant sounds like traffic noise. The article linked above mentions that a good buffer of trees and shrubs can actually reduce noise pollution by about 50 percent! Yet another thing to love about trees, and the winds that animate those leafy voices... as Muir so beautifully noted in the quote above: "their songs never cease"