mysterious sounds from above

00:00 / 00:12

a passing helicopter / sneakers on grass / unidentified bird calls

     When I was a child, my father always warned me to watch out for falling branches. I thought, what a strange fear to have. He said that it would sound like a clap of thunder, a rolling crack from above as I walked home from the bus stop, up the hilly path flanked by decaying pine trees. Strapped into my backpack and lugging my cello case, I moved slowly, picturing a falling branch that would crush my body and split my skull, brains spilling onto soil. I developed the habit of looking up as I walked.

     I walked that path for years and never heard the crack, never watched a branch fall. But some afternoons they were there on the ground nonetheless, bisecting gravel. I had no proof that they even came from those same trees above. If so, did they clap like thunder, and did anybody hear? Were they placed there gently, silent offerings from old trees to new growth?