Occasionally this time of year, when the evenings are warm and breezy and I’m walking the dog down a quiet neighborhood street late at night, I notice the sound of wind in the trees and stop to look and listen. If you look up, you see the wind’s twisting upwards path upon the oscillating tree parts against the darkened sky. As the wind blows, the branches bend and the leaves flutter up and through one tree and onto another—a perfect visual representation of vibration passing itself along receptive mediums. The wind-blown branches and leaves create a layered, white noise complexity that rises and falls in a surround sound shhhhh. It’s beautiful and relaxing to listen to as a reset for my ears.
I never quite hear this kind of layered complexity in music, at least not in the music I listen to. In music I hear beautiful textures and moving consonances and dissonances, but never a wind breath stirring thousands of tree branches and tree leaves into vibrational synchrony. The wind offers lessons: exact repetition doesn’t happen in nature, you don’t hear exactitudes in a breeze rustling trees or the irregular-regular sounds of crashing ocean waves, and natural soundscapes are infinitely layered and chaotic.
What makes the sound of wind in the trees interesting is the depth of its complexity and the simplicity of its depth as a single, author-less sound triggers countless leaf responses to create an immersive texture that would be impossible to score or otherwise recreate outside of this time and place. It’s as if the wind, the blowing leaves, and your noticing is what creates the music.