Skip to main content

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


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Fisherman Remembers Jocassee Valley

In my search for information on the history and tradition of fly fishing for trout in the mountains of South Carolina, I was extremely fortunate to have made the acquaintance of a true all-around outdoorsman and native son of the Appalachians, Dr. Thomas Cloer.  Our correspondence so far has been by telephone only, but I hope that once this current health crisis dies down, we can get together in person. When I first contacted Mr. Cloer, I didn't know what to expect. Why would he be interested in anything I had to say? But I was pleasantly surprised when he returned my call. Within the first moments of our conversation, I felt as if I had known him forever. Maybe it was the kinship felt between two fly fishermen, or perhaps it was his kind voice, warm and familiar, a voice steeped in the tradition and language of the Southern Appalachians. "Joshua, I would be more than happy to talk to you about fly fishing." Dr. Thomas Cloer is Professor Emeritus of Furman Univers

A Letter To My Father

Two years ago, this very night, you were still here among the living. You had no idea of what was to come in the early hours of the morning, but I know you had some inkling. You'd been talking about it for a while, and the Sunday before, I was told that you 'd made things right.Your mind and body were weak from fighting to hold onto your spirit, but your spirit was so much stronger, and it was determined to be set free. Your pain would soon be over, but you liked to fight, always did. You were the most stubborn human being that I have ever known, and I know that at the end, you were no different. I'm sure it wasn't your choice to go, despite all those times you cried, saying you wanted to die and be put out of your misery. When the medics had worked so long on you and decided to give up on you, your heart started back beating, as if out of spite.  I wonder sometimes what those last few hours were like for you. I wish I could've been there for you, like all the times

Love Letter

I wake this morning, to find your scent still lingering on my skin. With sleep in my eyes, I try to shake the heady buzz from the hours of being entwined with you the day before. I feel your residual energy flowing all around me. I step into the shower just to feel the rivulets of water wash over my body. You are all I can think about this morning, and I know that I will not find peace until I return to your side. I am completely, utterly, and desperately obsessed with you. When I look upon you, I am captivated. I am enamored by your beauty, by your natural sensuous movements. I follow every curve, trace all of your soft edges with my eyes, immerse myself in the rise and fall of your breath. You whisper mysteries known only to the deepest parts of my consciousness, and the narrative you speak to my heart is as old as the earth. I have watched you suffer mistreatment at the hands of so many before. You have been taken advantage of, used and abused, stripped of your purity. I