Do all trees weep,
Or do they stand and
Suffer us to live beneath
That there are those whose height
And times stretch further than
Whose reach is more eternal
And whose loyalty is pure, unfeigned
And firm from earth to sky?
I find that every time I sit down to write a piece of music my initial tendency is to think about . . . trees. That’s right, trees. I sit down with some manuscript paper in front of me, and all I can think of are trees. Big behemoths, leviathans of the land. Sprawling creatures that wisely know just how fast to grow, and just how slow to move so that we don’t notice them. But I have a talent for catching them in the act. I just can’t help myself.
To me trees are not still or static, they breathe. They, like the stars to the heavens, are the gatekeepers to the earth, often outliving us quaint people-creatures and thriving through our madness to tell their progeny about it. They are constantly in motion, creeping about, and not just because the wind blows them to and fro. Indeed, they are monumental creatures, mostly mammoths, with wise arms reaching out towards us. They have seen more than we ever will.
Some trees that occur to me are phantasmagoric fictions, like visitors from an illusory universe where trees are the rulers of worlds. Other visions are of actual trees: elegant masterpieces of maples outside of my office window, aching azaleas in the midst of the mountain ash, or gargantuan baobabs capable of splitting a small prince’s planet into pieces.
I’m not sure what the exact appeal is, but I am most certain that the fact that trees speak to me has something to do with it. They must . . . I don’t suppose I would dream and daydream about them if they didn’t. I am lucky enough to be told some of their secrets, some of their treasures. Sometimes they make me weep, and I know them well enough to feel that they weep with me.