Tree Falls in Forest, Makes Sound
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BIG FORK, MT For centuries, philosophical men and women have debated the age-old question, “If a tree falls in the forest, and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?” This spring, after getting sick of contemplating the answer, Big Fork resident Celeste Stanley set out to find the answer once and for all.

And after months of careful planning—and waiting for the perfect opportunity—she can finally give the world a straight and scientifically-based answer.

Yes. That fallen tree does, in fact, make a sound.

“Yep. I’ve got it on tape right here,” Stanley announced to the press yesterday as she patted an ancient-looking tape recorder. She then played a portion of tape that sounded much like the falling of a tree.

“This,” Stanley continued, “is a recording made of a tree falling in the forest out on Highway 99. Please note that not one human being was in the vicinity at the time of its falling.”

Reporters frantically scribbled notes as Stanley explained her adventures in the forest out on Highway 99. Her findings, she revealed, didn’t come easily.

“I began my research in March,” Stanley explained. “I found one tree that appeared as though it was about to fall. I placed my tape recorder nearby, pressed the record button, and left. I was forced to return every 120 minutes to check on the tape, which hindered my research a bit. The first few trees that I studied actually fell while I was in the area, and thus I heard them fall. It took months of long days full of recording and changing cassettes until it finally worked. This tree fell last Thursday, sometime at around three o’clock in the afternoon.”

When asked for details, Stanley explained, “I had last changed the tape at around two. I went into town and grabbed a cup of coffee before returning to change the tape again. But when I got back, I found that the tree had fallen. I say that it took place at around three because it happened just after the tape flipped over. In fact, if it had happened a minute earlier, I probably wouldn’t have gotten it on tape at all!”

Scientists and philosophers alike are skeptical of Stanley’s findings. Rumors have already begun to spread that Stanley really was there, standing by to ensure that the tree would, in fact, make a sound when it fell. To back up her findings, Stanley plans to return to the forest next spring with a video camera.

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