I walk from my apartment to the church through Prospect Park. Occasionally, if I have enough time, I cross over Lookout Hill, and especially if it's a windy day. There are white pines up there, and the sound of the wind through white pines is just about my favorite sound in all of God's creation. It always lifts my spirit, but it also stirs my sehnsucht, my longing.
Bruce Caton, in his marvelous and beautifully written history of Michigan, reports that there used to be magnificent stands of white pines all through the Lower Peninsula. These were lumbered early on. He reports that the early lumbermen could find the largest ones simply by listening for their distinctive sound.
I was unaware of white pines till I lived a while in Michigan, and it was there I came to love them. Sixteen years ago I planted one in Hoboken, and it is doing very well. (You can see it on Google Earth, in the backyard of 606 Garden Street, just to the left of the magnolia.)
Now I look for them in Brooklyn. You can see some from the D train, off New Utrecht Avenue.
What gave me special joy last week was to see a young one, a volunteer sapling, growing on Lookout Hill. I praise God for such things.