Wednesday, January 7, 2015

In the Woodswind

Walking in the woods today while snow was spitting and the wind was gusting in our new cold front (single digits predicted for early tomorrow morning) I noticed what a woodwind instrument the woods can become.  I would say an alto recorder specifically, at least that was the sound this morning.  Occasionally there would be light percussion as trees would tap against each other, but mostly various alto tones as the wind moved through the various apertures. 

I decided to grab whatever caught my eye and bring it home to draw in warmth.  The first thing that grabbed me were some pieces of wood from a disintegrating tree trunk-- the woodworm patterns looked like Morse code or early computer punch cards.  Then I found a branch without bark that had channels dug, again by woodworms, and they were definitely patterned. 

So I got onto the theme of the mystery of seeds and also patterns in nature and then onto the definitely humbling but certainly comforting idea that nature (or the universe or a god or intelligence-- the generator of all those patterns and processes) knows infinitely more than our little brains, even enhanced by computers, can ever possibly know.  And how good it is to watch a clunky little acorn send down a tail/rootlet at the precise time and in the perfect direction to bore into the soil before the ground freezes, with no sign of a stem-- just the root and a package of food, anchoring the baby plant to a patch of ground where it can wait out the winter, slowly creeping its root tip further and further in the direction of water.  And meanwhile the  shell is disintegrating as the food supply diminishes, going back to the ground and recycling itself with the help of the tannin that also gives it its bitter taste that wards off creatures that might eat the seed/little root/plant.  (I think the wind is affecting my mind--  But really, think about it!)

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