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I am a mother, a teacher, and a nature lover. I grew up on a mountain we called Owls' Knob in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The first seven years of my life were spent living in a log cabin, far from a store or streetlight, without electricity or running water and after twenty years of travel, I returned to the abondoned homestead. Now I live on a hill by a small lake and work at a public garden. These are stories about nature written from a women deeply influenced by place.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Birds: Some lost some gained

As spring arrives each year, the whip-poor-will begins her familiar call. There are old wives tales about a whip-poor-will singing downhill being bad luck and singing uphill being good luck. Some people find their call to be cheerful and encouraging. Others are reminded of lonely or restless nights filled with sorrow. The familiar sound has been a sure sign of spring for me as long back as I can remember. Last year the song became slightly wearing. The bird had nested just behind our bedroom and the call was so loud and constant that I found myself yelling across my small house just to be heard. I hate to admit it now, but I was beginning to find the sound annoying. This year, the whip-poor-will did not return. The frogs and toads are all that sings in these woods at night. I deeply miss the old whip-poor-will. Other birds have begun nesting in my yard. The indigo buntings find the trees around the garden to be quite hospitable. Their brilliant feathers and joyous songs brighten my day as I plant. A scarlet tanager has also moved into the neighborhood. As sad as I am to see the whip-poor-will go, I am happy to make new feathered friends.   

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