Heath Music

10 Dec


I’m a Music Appreciator.

Oh, I have dabbled a bit at various times in my life making music, and one of my priorities in teaching my children is to provide them with opportunities to obtain some rudimentary music skills, but mostly, I just appreciate good music.   It doesn’t matter where I hear it, beautiful music is important to me.   I appreciate it.  I might even seek it out (such as when I go to see Les Miserables, movie version, when it comes out on Christmas).

However, I was honestly surprised to find music on the Heath!  Hardy, with his expressive writing, has made me want to visit the Heath for a couple of reasons, one of which is the music.   (Another one I will post about later this week.  It’s Fowl.)

At the beginning of Chapter 6, we find Eustacia Vie looking over the Heath.  Hardy suggests that maybe she is listening to the wind.  Listen to his descriptions:

…what was heard there could be heard nowhere else…Treble, tenor, and bass notes were to be found therein.  The general ricochet of the whole over pits and prominences had the gravest pitch of the chime.   Next there could be heard the baritone buzz of a holly tree.

What an interesting wind to listen to!  Sounds like a choir.  Oh, and Hardy is not done yet.  He continues with the Heath Orchestra describing the “mummified heath-bells:”

  Below these in force, above them in pitch, a dwindled voice strove hard at a husky tune, which was the peculiar local sound alluded to.   Thinnner and less immediately traceable than the other two, it was far more impressive than either.  In it lay what may be called the linguistic peculiarity of the heath; and being audible nowhere on earth off a heath…(it) bore a great resemblance to the ruins of human song which remain to the throat of fourscore and ten…One inwardly saw the infinity of those combined multitudes; and perceived that each of the tiny trumpets was seized on, entered, scoured and emerged from by the wind as thoroughly as if it were as vast as a crater.

The dried out husks of vegetation are producing a beautiful music through the efforts of the wind.   I love it.   This is just like an orchestra or choir that needs a conductor to bring out the best in them, or just like any instrument is silent until someone puts breath or touch or movement into it.   It even reminds me, at Christmas, that I am a dry and papery shell-like husk of a person, who needs the breath of a Savior to do anything.

Thanks for the images, Hardy!  I needed a heath-song in my morning.



Posted by on December 10, 2012 in The Blog, The Return of the Native


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7 responses to “Heath Music

  1. Ruth

    December 10, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Oh, my goodness! I keep trying to imagine what this place looks like…and I continue coming up with images of where I live! And your photo that you included looks EXACTLY like where I live.

    Aside from that, this is a wonderful interpretation of Hardy’s heath.

    • Christina Joy

      December 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm

      Do you live in the sandhills of Nebraska, because aside from the purple hue of the heather that picture looks much like where I grew up.

      • Ruth Lopez

        December 11, 2012 at 3:33 pm

        I live in the Mojave Desert, and while my immediate city had a population explosion during the housing boom two presidential terms ago, before that there was nothing but brown knolls and brush (tumbleweeds) abound. I can’t really say I “like” the heath setting, and that is probably b/c it continues to remind me of the Desert. I guess I allowed my personal experiences to take over.

  2. Jeannette

    December 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Really, Ruth?! I guess I’ll have to visit you, then! This looks NOTHING like where I live. 🙂

  3. Gina Monge

    December 11, 2012 at 10:31 am

    In chapter 5 of book 2, Hardy mentions an instrument called a serpent. I’ve never heard of it, so I looked it up! It’s a strange-looking instrument…

    • Christine

      December 12, 2012 at 6:15 am

      How strange! I certainly won’t see that at my hubby’s Tuba Christmas concert this weekend.

      • Christina Joy

        December 12, 2012 at 10:44 pm

        Oh, I don’t know Christine, you might, this is just the kind of thing those low brass geeks love.


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