Rustling Leaves

ambience Wind, trees


Walking through the woods around this time of year, whenever the wind picks up it sometimes seems that the trees are speaking to us. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by DuPont. Trees have long been connected with prophecy. God was said to have speak to Moses through a burning bush and in ancient Greece, the oracle of Delphi foretold the future by listening to the rustling of tree leaves.

“The sound of rustling leaves is like the human voice in that it rises and falls very gradually, just as the intonation of a person does in conversation.”

Boria Sax is a scholar of mythology and folklore. He says that it’s easy to see why people through the ages have been inspired by the sounds of rustling leaves.

“Trees resemble people in a great many ways. For one thing, they, unlike most other living things, are upright, just as we are. And the limbs of the trees very easily can resemble those of human beings. They seem to go through physical changes in the course of years that are at least somewhat analogous to those of human beings. And perhaps the thing that most impresses people about trees is that they have such long life spans, and since with age we at least can aspire towards wisdom, trees seem to be very wise.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

music

Rustling Leaves

Trees are part of a venerable tradition of prophecy and folklore.
Air Date:09/22/2000
Scientist:
Transcript:

ambience Wind, trees


Walking through the woods around this time of year, whenever the wind picks up it sometimes seems that the trees are speaking to us. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by DuPont. Trees have long been connected with prophecy. God was said to have speak to Moses through a burning bush and in ancient Greece, the oracle of Delphi foretold the future by listening to the rustling of tree leaves.

"The sound of rustling leaves is like the human voice in that it rises and falls very gradually, just as the intonation of a person does in conversation."

Boria Sax is a scholar of mythology and folklore. He says that it's easy to see why people through the ages have been inspired by the sounds of rustling leaves.

"Trees resemble people in a great many ways. For one thing, they, unlike most other living things, are upright, just as we are. And the limbs of the trees very easily can resemble those of human beings. They seem to go through physical changes in the course of years that are at least somewhat analogous to those of human beings. And perhaps the thing that most impresses people about trees is that they have such long life spans, and since with age we at least can aspire towards wisdom, trees seem to be very wise."

Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

music