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Hear That Lonesome Whippoorwill

This is something I wrote in my journal five years ago. I wish I had started a blog back then. Maybe I would know what I am doing by now. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read it.


One of the best things about living in the country is the unfolding of the seasons before you. I imagine that in the big city, one season just blend into the next, with the only noticeable difference being the temperature. I imagine that the sound of traffic drowns out the mockingbirds on May afternoons, and the sound of owls after dark. Having the great fortune of coming up in a rural setting, I learned at an early age to appreciate the simple things in life the most. Sunrises, sunsets, the trilling of the tree frogs, and of course, the whippoorwills song in late evening.

Each spring, one sure sign that nature is alive and well is the lonesome sound, floating through the valley, hanging on the breeze. Many a night has been spent around a campfire, listening to the haunting dirge from deep in the woods. Though the sound is a mournful one, just like that old Hank Williams song says, for a country boy, it is comforting to my soul. Saturday nights on the porch after supper just wouldn't be the same without it.

These legendary birds are the subjects of many old wive's tales and southern folklore. To the mountain people, their song is a sign, an omen of death. Their eerie sound and elusive nature has earned the whippoorwill its place in our dark subconscious and in the music and literature of southern culture.

Springtime in these hills wouldn't be the same without that song resonating through the holler as the stars come out at night.

Josh Lanier 4/9/14


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