Rain is tapping the roof and the downspout rill trickles bright music tonight. I have hot tea and a warm cat, and a CD of Chopin's etudes. Life is good. Last night, before the current storm arrived, I went out and heard the wind blowing through other parts of the forest, while I stood amid the hush of still trees. The hum of pines is surprisingly loud, even from a distance. Each small needle doesn't make much sound on its own, but the collective voice of their millions is like the roar of breakers on a beach, sustained. As I stood listening to this sound shifting about, first from one quarter, now from another, I had to marvel at the force and energy which could draw the air through the night to coax such a volume of sound from those thin, quivering needles. I knew from hearing it other nights that, should the wind draw near, the sound would grow to a roar such as might thunder from a cathedral organ which can vibrate the stone walls, as the wind vibrates the trunks of trees and adds their deep notes to the smaller voices of the needles and boughs. But the wind remained distant. Tonight, it is less intense, and provides only a faint chorus to accompany the pianissimo notes of the raindrops. The potential for that grand outpouring of storm song is here, though, and might yet come to displace Chopin's gentle notes. If it does, I will go out and huddle on the driest corner of the porch, and listen a while to the storm's full and furious elemental splendor.