The sound of bamboo

Trip Start Jul 15, 2007
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Trip End Jul 16, 2008


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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Tuesday, March 4, 2008

(Jim)

Today as we were walking in the rice paddies near Mai Chau, the wind was blowing as we walked past a bamboo grove.

Bamboo has a sound. In even a faint breeze, a bamboo grove begins to creak and groan. It is a living sound, though not an animal sound. Perhaps it is most like the sound of a wooden sailing ship at night under sail. It suggests some kind of powerful vegetable consciousness, aware and powerful but uninterested in the affairs of men. (I suspect I'm ripping off Tolkien's ents in that last phrase.)

In any case, it is a striking sound, my favorite of the trip, even above the call of the muezzin at evening prayers in Muslim countries.
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