Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The sounds of summer

Lawns mowers on a Saturday mornings.
Crickets in the cool dark nights.
Tree frogs signing for all they are worth.
Come August it will be the katydids shrieking through the night.
The splashing of the neighbor kid in the pool.
The plong, plong of a basketball against blacktop
The tick of a sprinkler
The dawn chorus

For me, the ultimate sound of summer will always be the insistent call of the Whippoorwill. I await the first call in the spring. Never knowing if they will come back to my mountain or may go elsewhere. After I hear the first one, sometimes, distantly at first, then I know that they made it safely back from their winter sojourn. They usually arrive by mid-May. This year they were late.

They were quite loud last night on the mountain. I first heard it while I was in the basement. I looked up and paused….listening. It was only the “will” part. I came upstairs and opened the back door. It seemed to be coming from the front of the house. I walked through the foyer and opened the front door and the sound exploded into the house. It was somewhere in the trees across the street. Really close. I quietly opened the door and went out to sit on the front steps. Any movement I made and the bird stopped calling. Maybe it was in the new damp mulch in the flower bed by the street....

I sat like a statue and listened to the calling for a long time. Then I heard other answering calls coming from the woods. I counted 4 birds. My bird was suddenly silent -- gone. I never saw it fly.

I came back into the house covered with mosquito bites but full of the sound and happy, ready for bed.

I surfaced from sleep to the call of the Whippoorwill at 4:15a. He was settling in after a full night of bug hunting. I rolled over to join him for another 40 winks, before I started my day.

"Háwê." Hekaya'tí háwê. ökwënöhtö' ne' N-awëníyu' huwênö' kayásöh ukëistö wíyú. Kanyu' hatháha' ne' wai nê shô hutênút. Kakwékö nae ne yöëtsate' ne'hu wai nê shô N-awëníyu' huënö'. Ne' n-áyönishe't kës ëötënúta'k ne' khu ëyöëtsaték, ne' khu nê hëkâhkwë'sék, ne' khu kës ne kê' ne kwë'kúnyë' ëwötwënôta'k. Nêkê wênishæte' ne' nae n-utyênu'kta'ö he työhe'.

"He said." To put it simply, he said. We know that the voice of God is abundantly beautiful. His speech is only song. The whole world is nothing but the song of God. As long as his song (orenda) lasts, the earth will continue, the sun will always set, and the whippoorwill's voice will be heard. Today is the day of creation.

Genesis 1:27 translated from King James into Mingo by Maris Pierce 1835.

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