I knew sound as I saw it. The yellow sap of cedar trees sang directly into me, gave all the essence of its life into watery sound. I breathed it in, along with rain-soaked wind. The music followed me. My parents shined their eyes on me, assured me I was just like Beethoven, composing entire symphonies in our heads, neither of us able to hear them. I tried once to write the music down, but unlike Beethoven, Iâ€™d never heard outside my head. Notes were meaningless without knowing their sound. And instruments were nothing more than pretty things to touch. My music must have been incomparably unique, unbounded by influence. But no one else would ever listen to it. It belonged only to me and the forest. Nothing made me happier than dogwood flowers. They meant the sun would soon touch the tops of the maple trees, that turkey vultures would paint distant circles in the afternoon clouds. One summer night when the air was hot I spread my sleeping bag out next to a patch of salmonberries. Along the river, where the trees thinned, I watched the water darken. Then the stars sang. Lyra, Corona Borealis, Ursa Major. None it from the horizon. All the stars came in darts, accompanied by the Milky Wayâ€™s steady pulse. I lay upon the bare ground, forgetting my sleeping bag. Eyes constantly stroking the sky, I let the leaves cluster in my hair. Beneath me was all the curve of the Earth, and I could feel it hum.
could ever rival Venus, nor match the voice that sprang with
The journal of the University of Oregon Environmental Studies Program