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The whispers of trees

Clare O'Driscoll shares how a musical experience among the trees spoke to her of the importance of connection

The whispers of trees

I LAY IN A HAMMOCK between the tall trees. Listening and breathing. It felt like so long since I’d done either. Cello harmonies drifted over me from all directions, as if the trees were singing to each other, washing away my exhaustion with waves
of sound.

It was a Sunday afternoon in September 2021 and I was tired. In the post-COVID-19 return to church, Sunday mornings had become faintly stomach-sinking. Torn between a desire to honour the efforts of others and a fatigue that overcame me whenever I tried to be part of it, I felt a confused lethargy, a disconnection despite the kindness and community there.
But I pushed such thoughts aside as we headed to Kew’s Sussex-based offshoot, Wakehurst Place, home of the Millennium Seed Bank and other pioneering initiatives to save endangered plant species. I wanted to catch their Summer of Sound event in its final days, as the season turned towards autumn. We wandered around quirky installations, giant wooden megaphones and oversized wind-chimes, before following the valley to Horsebridge Woods, temporary home of Sonic Woodland: Glade.

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