I’m working on a new song at the moment, which I hope will be good enough to include on my full length release, Sparse, later this year. In keeping with the spirit of the work, the music is open, soft and inviting and the lyric plays with meditational questions:

If you could just stop talking
you might hear
one hand clapping
a tree
falls a lonely fall
with no audience
held in its thrall

[And no, I’m not sure about the last line either]

As ever, the songs we channel, that just seem to appear, are those from which we have most to learn. Whether it be our subconscious supercomputer spitting out its findings, an observation we’re making of the world without even realizing it, some psychic premonition of things to come, or even

[for those who ascribe to such things]

the voice of Yahweh, sometimes we just have to shut up and listen.

So, what have I been hearing as this song has sung in my ear?

Well, the question goes: “If a tree fell in the wood, and no-one was there to hear it, would it still make a sound?”

A theoretical view: when the tree falls, it displaces air, potentially collides with other objects creating frictional energy, all of which has the potential to generate noise.


A humanistic view: the tree falls, but as no-one is there to here, the noise that’s generated cannot be interpreted as a sound.


A whole-Earth view: the tree’s fall was heard by thousands of creatures, all of which were enjoying their environment without the intrusion of humans.


My view?

In summer, the forest was struck by lighting during a fierce storm. Though the tree wasn’t hit directly, it’s near neighbors were, and a small fire scorched the outer bark, wounding the tree; mortally, as it would turn out. As Winter moved through the deep woods, cycles of frost and thaw weakened the tree further until, with the coming of Spring and Summer, the vines came back with a vengeance, covering the tree, pulling it hard back down to gravity’s home. The tree succumbed and fell.

No-one was there to hear it.

A pair of beavers, working on their lodge nearby, heard a crash in the woods and headed over to check it out. To their delight, they found the fallen tree, it’s branches still stout. With a little gnawing, the branches came free and the beavers worked together to drag them back to the pond, where they proved excellent material for construction. The lodge grew a little stronger thanks to those branches.

The next Spring, the beavers welcomed a new litter, raised in the warmth and safety of the lodge.

A little way off in the forest, the tree continued to moulder away, home to bugs, snakes, wood-lice, ants. A family of birds nested in the remains of its canopy. One of the chicks would later be eaten by a wandering bobcat; the nest to low to offer protection.

The tree lays silent, life proliferating in and alongside; all because of a fall that no-one heard.

The tree cares not whether we witness its regeneration in the multitude of life.

The tree knows.

My place in the world is but small in the story; I am a part, the teller, not the centre.

My song has reminded me.

And I pause once again to consider my luck in being able to tell the stories over and again.