Have you ever stood under tall sentinels such as these when a gentle breeze was moving through them, and listened to the delicate sound of the leaves dancing in the open air, gently sweeping against one another and limbs, making the heavenly music known as Psitherism? (pronounced si-thir-ism). I am sure you have :) Its one of the great simple pleasures in this world, yes? My parents have a crooked Aspen in their front yard in Minnesota, just up from the bluffs of the Mississippi River, and whenever I’m lucky enough to be back in the summertime, I lay down underneath that beautiful wood and listen to its sound, something deeply akin to magic. It transports me and makes me feel a part of something much greater than the simple bonds of humanity. We are all part of this great cosmic dance: insect, leaf, family, tree, bison, bear, river, sky, cloud, apple…you know what I mean. And for me, this sound – this “psitherism” brings this unity into acute awareness, all at once.
When I was in Vermont many years ago during the height of summer, I was lucky enough to find a trail that cut through woods so strikingly similar to this picture above…it was my secret place, I didn’t share it with anyone, and made it a point to duck out every afternoon for a dosage of the peace, tranquility, and music these gentle giants so generously provided. At times the music was a whisper, like chimes – and other times, when the whole tree would join the wind, the trunks would groan and call out as they swayed to and fro, creaking as if they were being tossed about on invisible waves that remained out of my reach. Trees. What they would have to tell us if they could only speak. It was under those tall wooded friends in that Vermont wood that I announced to the wind that I was ready to get married…and married I still am :)
I like this word, Psitherism – the essence of onomatopoeia. It whispers and shimmers as it moves across your tongue, just like the wind skimming off the gloss of leaves. Makes me feel connected all the more. I encourage you to go out and find yourself your own special grove of trees, and stand beneath them, beside them, and listen…perhaps even join in.