What a beech twig hears…

…when a gust of wind passes over its leaves. These are the vibrations that tremble through the wood. Inaudible to our ears, but the tree’s cells are shaken (not stirred) and any insect in the twig could detect the vibrations through its feet.


I recorded this today using a tiny accelerometer on the twig’s surface. The leaves have been out for a week or two, so they are still very delicate.

“But their comprehensive silence stays the same”? Not so, Professor Nemerov, not so.

12 thoughts on “What a beech twig hears…

  1. Fountainpen

    I guess there are many secrets
    Insects could tell us!
    Thank you for revealing one of
    Nature’s secrets previously known
    Only to insects!!!

  2. St Brigid Press

    Wonderful, and unique. An accelerometer?? Wow. I once recorded the sound of wind through beech leaves, and recorded a poem over it. Beeches are poetic trees ;-)

  3. johnsalmond

    I have (no doubt belatedly, but I am in Australia) come across A Sand County Almanac which I have been reading in parallel with a rereading of The Forest Unseen and I hope I will be forgiven for a lengthy quote, about the Passsenger Pigeon Monument. It fortuitously also mentions a wind, but not a vibration of leaves

    “. . . But no pigeons will pass, for there are no pigeons, save only this flightless one, graven in bronze on this rock. Tourists will read this inscription, but their thoughts will not take wing.

    “We are told by economic moralists that to mourn the pigeon is mere nostalgia; that if the pigeoners had not done away with him, the farmers would ultimately have been obliged, in self-defense, to do so.

    “This is one of those peculiar truths that are valid, but not for the reasons alleged.

    “The pigeon was a biological storm. He was the lightning that played between two opposing potentials of intolerable intensity: the fat of the land and the oxygen of the air. Yearly the feathered tempest roared up, down, and across the continent, sucking up the laden fruits of forest and prairie, burning them in a traveling blast of life. Like any other chain reaction, the pigeon could survive no dimunition of his own furious intensity. When the pigeoners subtracted from his numbers, and the pioneers chopped gaps in the continuity of his fuel, his flame guttered out with hardly a sputter or even a wisp of smoke.

    “Today the oaks still flaunt their burden at the sky, but the feathered lightning is no more. Worm and weevil must now perform slowly and silently the biological task that once drew thunder from the firmament.

    “The wonder is not that the pigeon went out, but that he ever survived through all the millennia of pre-Babbittian time.

    “The pigeon loved his land: he lived by the intensity of his desire for clustered grape and bursting beechnut, and by his contempt of miles and seasons.”

    there is more also very fine . . .

  4. Pingback: Sprout - Good Gardening Reads | Late June Edition

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