DRY BONE BARITONES
I will always remember that scene in Picnic at Hanging Rock, when the four young girls, dressed in frilly white frocks, break away from the party and climb up the rock face. They are slowly overcome by fatigue, and at some point the rock begins to hum - the kind of low vibration that makes hairs stand up on the back of one's neck. The kind of low vibration that occurs when wind is trapped in high places; eery, mystical, somewhat scary.
A group of Scientists studying the arches of Utah's national parks have recently found that the arches are humming.
While conducting research on the health of the arches, and trying to determine when and why individual arches may fall down, the team found that they were able to measure the vibrations of the arches as they moved in the wind. By studying these vibrations, they could then assess the internal structures, movements and overall health of each arch.
Reading about this, I was struck by the feeling of an instantaneous meshing of my experiences and scientific fact. I had often felt the humming of larger rocks, the way one can hear a TV being switched on in the next room. It is at once a knowing, and a physical sensing of the thing.
According to these scientists, the rocks are not only humming, they are also moving, being plucked by the wind like strings of a cello.
the bones of the Earth laid bare
move with the frequencies
- an intimate connection
between the two.
in the gaping chasm that separates my foreign consciousness
from my ancient new home
listening in on the conversation
trying to make sense of a language I do not speak
catching only the faintest hints of those words
that hold a common root
and yet, acutely aware of the gist of it all.