A gorgeous morning: I climb early and quickly. In my moment of standing in my arboreal perch, I think how different the sound of wind in the leaves is when you are up there among them. It is above and around and below you, the foaming of the leaves, and it is like being in the middle of an ocean of sound. The leaves all stream away from the meadow as the wind comes up the hillside and over the house and through the tree, straining at their twigs, snapping back against their branches. It is like surf rolling across the landscape.
At first I think, it is not really like surf because the leaves are not moving, the wind is just moving through them. But in the ocean the water doesn’t move with the wave either. Each particle of water just moves up and down as the force, the energy, drives onward; and as the shape, the form of the wave, transfers itself toward the shore. This is not the same as leaves snapping in waves as the air comes up the hill, but it is not as different as it might seem, either.
I stand and watch the foaming of the leaves. Listen to the foaming of the air.
The meadow at this point in the summer is full of bedstraw, a fine-stemmed plant with thousands of minute greenish-white flowers that seems to tumble like waves of lace across the meadow, over the top of grasses and other plants. The whole meadow is frothing with bedstraw, foaming without moving. Tangled bedstraw, the foam on the just-poured lager of the meadow (this is all wrong but I can’t help myself).
To foam. The word intrigues me and I look up its origins. It is an ancient root appearing in many languages and going back from English through German to the Indo-European root that gives rise also to the Sanskrit and the Latin words for ‘foam’ and ‘froth.’
They are beautiful words, ‘foam’ and ‘froth’–oceanic and lacy and white–suggesting a particular kind of churning motion, and a thousand thousand parts: bubbles, rushing air molecules, tiny flowers, whipping leaves.