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21 January 2001

Another six inches of snow today. Not too troublesome, though: a light snow, easily shifted and drifting in the wind. Just after noon, while everyone else was shoveling and snowblowing driveways and walkways, I swept snow off the back porch, enjoying the task of preparing my practice space. When we were all done and the neighborhood was quiet again, I practiced. The sun was out, and the air was clean and cold. As I practiced the shadows lengthened until the whole meadow was blue with only a few streaks of gold shining through the trees...

With an hour and a half to go before sundown, I decided to go for a walk. It was cold, of course, and the wind had shifted back around to the northwest, but the sky was clear as a bell and I wanted to see the world in the deeply slanting January light...

Someone shoveled the heron's pond. But the skating area has been seriously reduced. Over the past few weeks, between runoff and melting, the still snowy edges of the pond have become slushy, and the slush has been spreading. And spasms of sleet and snow have made a mess of what good ice remains... rats. No one was skating when I passed by.

Up on the curve where the power lines cross Mowry Street, I stopped to listen. There's a large pine grove there. Power lines run to the north and east of the grove, though, and because it's high up, the back of the pine grove is very much exposed to the prevailing northwesterly winds. But the trees are very tall and thick and they shelter the road from the wind.

On the corner lot there, up against the pines, there's a house being built. I've been keeping an eye on the project since last summer. I like to watch building, like to see the process. I like the smell of new wood...

Anyway, as I say, the house is up against the pines, and the pines are exposed to the wind. Often and often when I've walked up there I've stopped there at the curve, by that new house, just to listen to the sound of the wind in the pines.

During the day, or on a bright night when the pines show black against the midnight blue sky, you'll be standing there, in the quiet, waiting, or you'll be walking along, and you'll hear a soft rushing sound, and you'll look up and see the tops of the pines beginning to sway... and the sound will grow... and you hear pine boughs dancing in the wind.

On pitch black nights, though, you can't see the trees, and the road is sheltered, and so you won't think about the wind. You'll be walking along that dark stretch of road, and as you walk, you'll think you hear a car coming, so you'll listen harder— that's not it. Is it traffic noise? A train far off? No...

It sounds as if something is coming your way. You know it is. Something big... and powerful. And it's bearing down on you, and— it's a little frightening. Your heart beats a little faster as you try to identify the sound—

It's only the wind in the pines.

Whoever comes to live in the new house, will also come to know the sounds of wind in the pines.


Copyright © 2001 New Moon

Line Copyright © 2000 New Moon

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