If you missed the installation last Fall, come listen to it indoors at the Olympic Sculpture Park for their Earth Day celebration on April 20th.  I’ll be there from 11am – noon.  Come stop by and say hi!  



This was the last official weekend of the project.  Wednesday (halloween!) is the last official day.  It will take a while to get all of the sites down, so you may still catch some of the sites in the next couple of weeks before they come down.  Thought I’d share a few more listening photos…Saturday it rained quite a bit, but a few people braved the weather.  Sunday we got lucky with a pretty decent day and a really great turn out!


These photos make me *so* happy:


(Above photos all courtesy of Kate Clark)

(And yes, that’s a puppy dog up there listening, too!)




(Photo courtesy of Chris Watson)

If you have any photos you wouldn’t mind sharing of people listening at other sites, you will make my day!

Wow, that was such an amazing week!  On Wednesday I was so excited to see all of the people who came out for the installation’s first official day.  It was such a treat to see so many people listening.  My favorite memory is one woman sitting cross-legged on the fallen maple limb, meditating and listening to the fly feet!

I got some feedback that people were having difficulty finding some of the sites, and so I wanted to share some suggestions.

1.  The first four sites you can find by ear if you walk slowly and listen.  This is normally slightly easier on weekend mornings than on Wednesday afternoon, because the traffic noise makes the installations sound much softer!
2.  Site 1 is first right off of Arboretum Drive
3.  Site 6 is a ways down a path with new gravel.  It’s also likely you won’t hear it from a distance because it’s very quiet and has lots of silences.  If you get there and nothing’s happening, just wait and listen.  Also try different perspectives–stand within the sculpture or around it.  This music is constantly changing because there are actually three pieces playing in cycles simultaneously, and they are all different lengths.  So you never know exactly what you’ll hear!
4.  You might like to try Lynda Mapes’ suggestion and not worry too much about the map/finding all of the sites and instead just wander and listen, and let your ears be your guide.
5. If you want less of a wandering experience and you have an iPhone you could download allTrails and try following along with the map here: http://alltrails.com/tracks/paths-ii-the-music-of-trees

It’s done!!!  Can’t quite believe it but all of the sites are now up and running, and Kate’s sculpture is fabulous.  Here are some photos of the process:


This solar panel is awaiting its journey into the treetops.  Before the system went up each time I hooked everything up on the ground to triple check that it was working.


…And there goes the panel!  When I’ve told some people about the project, they initially assume that I brought the panels and other equipment up the tree.  Let me assure you, this was not the case.  Aside from a few trips up a ladder I kept my feet firmly on the ground.


When Chris, the Arboretum’s arborist, said he was going to put the panels in the tops of the trees…he wasn’t exaggerating.  He took this photo while installing another panel in a nearby tree.


Although the solar panel looks more impressive going up the tree, the battery box weighs way more than the panel.  Between the equipment in the box and all of the cable there’s got to be at least 100 pounds of gear there.  I was so proud of myself the one time I picked everything up from a vehicle and managed to gently lower it to the ground…so I was very grateful not to be the one pulling the system up a tree 12 times.


The owl was positively unimpressed by the endeavor.  (Photo by Chris.)


Speaking of ladders, did I mention I’m not crazy about heights?  Also not crazy about gigantic spiders inches from my head while on a ladder at the campderdown site. Needless to say I kept reminding myself that if said spider(s) happened to land on me, better to wait to panic until I got back to the ground. (Thanks to Chris for the photo…which is at the rhododendron site…I faced the camperdown’s spiders alone.)

Kate, on the other hand, looked right at home while she installed her sculpture:


BTW her sculpture is awesome.  It’s hard to capture it in a photo, but I tried.


The clear tubes make a more subtle appearance at two other sites.  At the camperdown site tubes are woven through the tree to create additional ‘mutant’ branches.  If you listen closely you can hear some sound through the ends of these branches.  Watch out though–despite my best efforts to ‘de-bug’ the installation, the earwigs have made these tubes their second home.


(I’ve been told that’s a horrible pun, but I really couldn’t resist.  My apologies.)

Listen Wednesdays from 3-6 pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm.  FYI this saturday you may run into an eagle scout project near Kate’s sculpture. Print a map from the website or pick one up at the visitor’s center.  It runs through the end of October.  Hope you can make it!

It’s been a very busy couple of weeks installing the project…I hope to share a few more photos of the process soon!  In the meantime I realized that until now I’ve neglected to post a link here to the official project website:


Here you can see a map and photos of the sites, and from the map you can read about each site and listen to some of the original sounds and excerpts of my interpretations.  You can also see how the project works, and see who helped make it happen!   I hope you will check it out.

We put up the first installation yesterday.  And by ‘we’ I mean Chris (arborist/Arboretum staff/tree-climber extraordinaire).


Yes, I think I may have held my breath for the entire 100 foot climb.  Chris took a photo at the top and was kind enough to share it:


Next up was the box with all of the electronics.


This one got pulled up.  It was really heavy, and had to go up without first sealing the box (the solar charge controller has to be hooked up in a specific order which unfortunately complicated the whole process).


A minor catastrophe was averted thanks to whoever invented the humble wire nut.  On the way up a couple of wires came loose in the box.  The angle was horrible to screw them back into their appropriate terminal, especially while hanging/sitting in a tree.  Instead Chris was able to connect them with a wire nut.  (Don’t worry, these aren’t exposed…they are all inside the waterproof box.)

Meanwhile the funny-looking speaker boxes got painted black:


And that’s it.  It’s up and running.  It’s on Wednesdays from 3-6 pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm.  It’s a bit loud right now since I misjudged when setting the volume but we’ll fix it next week…on the upside that means it’s pretty easy to find: walk down Arboretum drive until you hear the music.  Then just follow the sound until you find its source!

I still can’t quite believe the first one is up.  The rest are going up in mid-September.  We did this first one a few weeks early to work out some of the details around the installation process, and to make sure it gets enough light to run 9 hours a week.

I took a short video on my phone…please excuse the video quality, but I just had to share!

(Not sure what the clicking sounds are–they aren’t in the piece, so they are probably related to my phone. )