the kinder wondered what happened to the big, old tree they used to play under
it was a good tree
we sat under it when it was hot in the sun and its shade kept us cool
we collected pretty leaves that floated down from it in the fall
it was on a hill and we ran by it in the winter when we were playing in the snow
pieces of it had been falling off for a very long time
we guess that maybe it was very old and very sick and it was getting too tired
the kinder began to put its little pieces back on to decorate it
we hope that in the spring
a new sapling will come up near where the old tree used to stand so tall.
“a tree’s wood is also its memoir.”
as you step on, vacuum, sweep-up, curse, recycle
those painful and elusive pine needles
fallen from your wreaths, trees, garlands
stop a second to take a very close look
at the beauty of a sliced pine needle magnified
and you may see them in a new light.
“seven clans” – photo by elm mitchell
“the close-up says everything”
Silent tree activity, like photosynthesis and the absorption and evaporation of water, produces a small voltage in the leaves. In a bid to encourage people to think more carefully about their local tree canopy, sound designer and musician Skooby Laposky has found a way to convert that tree activity into music.
By connecting a solar-powered sensor to the leaves of three local trees in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Laposky was able to measure the micro voltage of all that invisible tree activity, assign a key and note range to the changes in that electric activity, and essentially turn the tree’s everyday biological processes into an ethereal piece of ambient music.
You can check out the tree music yourself by listening to the Hidden Life Radio—Laposky’s art project—which aims to increase awareness of trees in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the city’s disappearing canopy by creating a musical “voice” for the trees.
The project features the musical sounds of three Cambridge trees: a honey locust, a red oak, and an 80-year-old copper beech tree, all located outside the Cambridge Public Library. Each tree has a solar-powered biodata sonification kit installed on one of its branches that measures the tree’s hidden activities and translates it into music.
According to WBUR, between 2009 and 2014, Cambridge was losing about 16.4 acres of canopy annually, which is a huge loss considering that tree canopies are crucial to cities, cooling them down during the summer, reducing air pollutino, sucking up carbon, and providing mental health benefits.
Laposky hopes that people will tune into Hidden Life Radio and spend time listening to the trees whose music occurs in real-time and is affected by the weather. Some days they might be silent, especially when it hasn’t rained for several days and they’re dehydrated. The project will end in November, when the leaves will drop — a “natural cycle for the project to end,” Laposky says, “when there aren’t any leaves to connect to anymore.”
“in a cool solitude of trees
where leaves and birds a music spin,
mind that was weary is at ease,
new rhythms in the soul begin.”
-william kean seymour
source credits: Kristin Toussaint, The Optimist Daily, WBUR Radio
on a winter walk in the woods
came upon a labyrinth made of pine
fall to winter vegetables as offerings at its center
beautiful yule celebration on display
left for all to enjoy.
“the trees will tell their secrets to those that tune in.”
greenview nature preserve, ann arbor, mi, usa – january 2021