Thursday, February 17, 2005


The Mountain Stream

A number of years ago, my late ex-father-in-law gave us a wind chime. I suspect he had discovered something he liked doing with his hands to unwind. His wind chime was a collection of brass tubes, hung with fishing line in a circle and the head of a grey metal lawn sprinkler used as a clapper. We were pleased with his handiwork (it rang melodically when we shook it).

Our house was set in the trees and over the deck off the bedroom was a fir bough where I tied our gift. When the wind started to gently blow that night, the chime pealed like a church bell calling parishioners to mass. I lay there cringing, tensely waiting for the next sledgehammer blow. It was much louder than I imagined. Quickly, I found some surgical tape to wrap the edge of the clapper to mute the sound. That experience stayed with me as Beverly and I searched through gift shops at the beach for the perfect wind chime.

Wind chimes come in all sizes and materials. There are chimes made of pieces of colored glass that tinkle; there are chimes made of broken pieces of pottery with a dull glass-like sound. We found bamboo chimes that are melodic and have an oriental sound. There are chimes that are not unique except for the town advertisement.

While in Rockaway last Memorial Day, we found a windchime called Mountain Stream. It has brass tubes and is tuned to the key of D. Imagine that, the key of D! If you are more partial to A Flat (and I can't for the life me have A flat on our deck) they had A Flat. I hung the key of D wind chime on the deck. For the first few days, when the wind gently wafted around the corners of the house, there was a happy sound.

I noticed, though, when the north wind came up in the evening of a hot summer day, there was, still, just a happy sound! Our Mountain Stream was sheltered by the neighbor's shrubbery. I found another location that was in the river of air. That night it was like my ex-father-in-law had returned. I was sure the neighbors would be calling the police. A nude dash in the night, a new location and now, with just a small breeze, there can be this pure ting, ting, ting. When the East wind blows, we get the full octave. Instead of a water feature, we drift off to the Mountain Stream.

Mover Mike

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