When I was quite young, probably in the third grade, maybe seven or eight, our teacher made us memorize Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees.” It is a simple and lovely poem. “I think that I shall never see, a poem lovely as a tree.” I lived on a farm surrounded by trees and nature and I remember I used to wander through the woods thinking of that poem. I would look up at the trees and I wondered what made the wind.
Did the wind move the leaves on the trees – or did the leaves move and create the wind? That puzzled my young mind because I could see the leaves become active on a grove of trees and then they would go quiet while just across the way the trees would begin to quiver and the leaves would shimmer and shake.
In later life I learned the science of the wind. I learned the First law of Thermodynamics. I learned the forces of nature that move masses of air from areas of high pressure into depressions as nature seeks to balance the atmosphere. I learned the Adiabatic Lapse Rate and the Coriolis effect (Physics) whereby a body moving in a rotating frame of reference experiences the Coriolis force acting perpendicular to the direction of motion and to the axis of rotation. On Earth the Coriolis effect deflects moving bodies to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere.
Yes, I learned all that. But you know what? I still like my definition best, although I am still not quite sure if the wind moves the leaves – or the leaves cause the wind.