Tuesday, February 2, 2010

On the wind

A few years ago my husband and I toured the Spanish mission sites around San Antonio, Texas. One of these lovely old missions is still home to a group of Catholic monks, and it was there that I discovered the beauty of tuned wind chimes.

I have hated wind chimes all of my life I think. I hate the wooden kind that tonelessly clink against each other. And I hate the cheap metal kind that tonelessly clink against each other. You get the picture. It's the non-musical aspect of them that I really hated. Somehow, I'd missed the fact that there are wind chimes in this world that are musically tuned to a pentatonic scale.

Who knew?

As Tim toured some of the outbuildings on the mission site, I sat on a bench, enjoying the warm Spring sunshine. Gradually I became aware of the music coming from the monks' residence. Looking more closely from across the open grassy area, I realized they had many, many sets of wind chimes hanging all over the front of the house. And all the chimes were tuned. Not a toneless clink among them. It was such a pleasure to listen to as the breeze moved across the sunny green!

My husband has always liked wind chimes and he wasn't happy when I took down those that were on our deck several years ago. But I just couldn't stand the sound.

After we returned home from San Antonio, I went on an internet search and found quite a few places where I could purchase tuned chimes. But I wanted to hear them for myself before purchasing. A trip to San Diego the following year found me in a shop that exclusively sells wind chimes, and there I purchased two sets of tuned chimes -- one small, with high and sweet tones, and one larger, with medium, mellow tones.

Both sound simply beautiful, especially together.

They hang all year round on our deck, and every time -- EVERY time -- I hear them, I am momentarily transported back to that sunny Spring afternoon and the warm breezes of the San Antonio mission.

- Catherine


Susanne said...

My hubby hates wind chimes too and now that you say this, it is probably for the same reason. They weren't melodic and in tune.

EJ said...

You guys should check out these wind spinners. They're an alternative to wind chimes. Though there are some that combines the musicality of the chimes with the dazzling visual that is the spinners