Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Odd Bird

The other evening I saw something I’d never seen before—a little secret that nature keeps.

As dusk was turning to night, I was driving down the gravel road to the Pole Cat Creek farm when I saw a reflection at the side of the road—the eye of some critter.

I wondered what critter was so small that its eye was only inches above the road, so I slowed Ol’ Blue to a crawl. In the headlights I saw a brown bird, so rough-looking that it could have been made of dry leaves. When it flew across my headlights’ beam. I knew exactly what it was.

I’ve often heard whippoorwills call at dusk at Pole Cat Creek. Their call is elusive, lonely, plaintive—the sound of country living. No other sound is quite like it. I’ve heard whippoorwills for years. I knew they were around, but I’d never seen a live one until the other night.

I suppose lots of things exist that we know are there, but we never see them unless we’re lucky.

Or we’re in the right place at the right time.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Debi said...

Please make the whippoorwill sound for me when I see you Becky--there are two bird sounds I've been hearing for years and I am dying to know what kind of birds they are! I think one is a whippoorwill and the other an owl. I would hate to say to someone, "Ah, listen to that lovely whippoorwill," and they say, "Um, that's a woodpecker."

6:33 AM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

The whippoorwill call sounds like its name. Try to whistle the word "whippoorwill" and you've got it. Here's a link to hear it:
http://www.vhtrc.org/forum/whippoorwill-sound.htm

The thing that goes "HOO-HOO-hoo. Hoo. Hoo." might be a screech owl. (I think.) You can listen to some owls here:
http://www.owlpages.com/sounds.php

8:02 PM  

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