Today we worked in the wind. Quite strong wind.
The perfect day, in fact, to work on a group of very tall London plane trees (we are talking a good 35 meters).
In the course of the morning the wind spun round from south to south west and really picked up – by the end of the morning, if you were not facing the wind side on, but turned to face it, you were being bodily blown all over the place, it was blowing a fair old gale.
Trees in the wind are such stunning structures, watching the limbs dampening the movement, the distance the different parts of the tree travels before swinging back… also quite humbling, seeing these these evolved strategies springing into action in order to handle strong winds.
Be that as it may, I came up with a titbit of wisdom I thought I might share with you.
But first, let me digress… the low rumbling sound of the wind blowing through the trees reminded me of a train coming through – at speed. It brought to my mind a passage in Neuromancer, in which William Gibson wrote …
His eyes were eggs of unstable crystal, vibrating with a frequency whose name was rain and the sound of trains, suddenly sprouting a humming forest of hair-fine glass spines.
(If you have not read Neuromancer, do so. In this seminal 1984 novel, Gibson wrote about the internet waaaaay before its time. The first sentence is The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel – by which, back in the day, Gibson meant a hazy grey fuzziness, yet of course in the age of digital television, a dead channel is… blue. Talk about a sign of the times…. but hold on, I really am way off topic off here).
It also made me think of an old Discord band from DC called Rain Like the Sound of Trains.
So there you go, we finally get round to the point I was trying to make, which is my new rule of thumb, which goes: If the wind in the trees is like the sound of trains, do not attempt to climb them.
I will put this up next to my other rules of thumb, such as If you have drops dripping off the tip of your nose, it is raining hard. Or that unforgettable Didjism, If you’re going to put your boll#cks on the railway tracks, make sure they ain’t vibrating!