Every tree has a different sound. There are the waterfall trees where the wind rushes through like water over stone – gurgling, rippling, happy and smooth. Then, there are the wind chime ones. The ones that ring like hollow bamboo tubes hanging outside the door on a windy summer night – slightly forlorn and beautifully haunting. Some trees sound like the prairie at night, where the corn rustles and whispers stories that are ancient and passed from generation to generation. Stories of loss and grief, stories of joy and freedom – all the tales the land has seen and will see. Then there are trees that sound like the summer heat on a mediterranean plain. The echoing calls of the cicadas that reverberate from the bare and stony mountain sides.

I have been listening. Lately, I have been listening. Mostly to the trees. In the beginning, there were only sounds. The wind that blew through them – the rustling of leaves, the rush of the air. Then, patterns began to emerge and stories developed. There were songs, wordless at first, but words can always be added later on. There were so many stories and it took a while to decipher, distinguish and separate. What began as a gentle rush became a roar. I began to hear the stories of loss. They were the most potent ones, for grief binds us like nothing else. Loss of every kind, the deepest ones, the ones that cannot be measured or quantified. The soul knows when something that was dear is now almost gone. It is when I began touching the rough and smooth barks that my breathing intensified and all the unsaid and unsung words burst open. The trees responded. In their ways. And it resonated – back and forth, like a harp or a flute that still gives music even after the wind has blown through or the strings have rested. I exchanged. Their story for mine. And the more I listened the more I felt a calm, an ease come over me. And the trees swayed and whispered and we held on to each other until the loss and grief became one.

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