Elevator Music


It isn’t a symphony that I hear in the Guilford woods, as Gordon Hempton has found in the wilderness of Olympic National Park, but rather the melody of a naturalistic elevator, weaving its way in and out of the pines. I visualize the sound as a kind of blanket, gently easing down through the skylit canopy. My synesthesia finds me at a common perch, the lookout mentioned in a previous entry, flat on my back and imagining, watching, this blanket ease over the forest.

I’ve never learned the linguistic difference between “woods” and “forest,” and I do not intend to; each definition, assumedly, relies on unique geographical and biospheric details that do not appeal to my current usage. My consideration of this place solely relates to my own experience, and therefore if it feels like a forest, it’s a forest.

The sounds of the woods are many. Close by are birds singing, water flowing, the winds pushing through the trees; further are car horns bickering, lacrosse boys yelling, porch-side speakers boasting their owners’ musical taste.

I spread my belongings around me, giving place to the location: a kindle, a laptop (sacrilege, yes, but this is a blog), a journal, its pen, a nalgene. Also my drone, a recent purchase comfortably within the confines of a minimum-wage student-worker position. The drone has a camera with the resolution of deep-sea fish (read: bad), but I am nevertheless entertained and intent on using it for a purpose that could pass as productive.

The symphony fading to elevator music, I set the toy up and send it into the air. It buzzes about, careening from side to side, and the screen of my phone follows a reliable one-mississippi behind. I send it over the edge (slope) of the lookout, buzz it around a bit, have it return. I take it to Shit Hill, send it down, over the stream (why hasn’t anyone called it “Shit Stream?”), across the man-made meadow. I lose control, either my fault or the machine’s, watch it collide with a branch, drop, stay. The screen shows a beautiful landscape of leaves and the invasive akebia quinata that blankets the area, and so it stays until my companion spies it from the ground and I shake it loose.

As I do, I consider that there may be others nearby, writing a blog about the natural world, this natural space, recording its voice. That recording may now be forever plagued by the insufferable whir of my toy.


Scene from a cheap toy #1: Shit Hill
Scene from a cheap toy #2: more Shit Hill
Scene from a cheap toy #3: the sky above Shit Hill
Scene from a cheap toy #4: the view from the crash after Shit Hill

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