Return of the Whippoorwill
It’s 65 degrees with a full moon risen so high it glows through the highest windows. I feel a cold coming on and don’t even mind the sore throat and congestion, long as I can sit on a porch by the forest where the first whippoorwill songs are coming from their nests of dirt and leaves along the creek, at the roots of trees, bedded down throughout the tangled messes. They sound like summer come blowing through the woods where we watched trees shrink back and bend near the brink during the drought. Now they’re unfurled and green, green so bright you can feel the chlorophyll pulsing.
My whole life living in small town Texas, and I only now know the countryside. Forever, I’d heard the word whippoorwill and never considered how strongly I’d correlate that word and their song to a season. To me it sounds as old as this place, and slow as molasses down the side of a jar. They’ve been here long before I stumbled on this place, and I wonder if all this was just waiting here quietly in this pocket of the county. To be picked up, dusted off, trimmed back, and straightened up. Every year for years and years and since the beginning I know the whippoorwills hunkered down in the dirt each spring and sang each night and sang each morning to lull something to sleep, to wake them up in the morning. I know it’s been decades at least, maybe longer, since they had someone to sing to. I’m glad it’s me.