Whippoorwill Song

Submitted into Contest #143 in response to: Set your story in the woods or on a campground. ... view prompt

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American Funny Happy

I'm kind of a suburb kind of girl so when my sister invited me to spend a week with her at her NC house in the woods in the country, I was hesitant. Don't get me wrong, I love my sister and I love going to parks but I'm not used to woods all around me. But I decided to go and brave it out.

Her house and surrounding area is beautiful, trees on every feet of land, and tall. It seemed as if some were fifty feet tall or more. I've never personally measured a tree, so don't use me as an accurate indicator. Standing on her deck I could see birds and squirrels, which we have at my house so I'm not impressed yet. Also, it takes her thirty minutes to get to a grocery store. That seemed sort of primitive to me.

It was on our way to the grocery store that I saw my first ever, in real life and not in a certain movie that I saw a gopher. I was shocked! They are huge! My sister pulled over and he looked right at me, which would have been a perfect opportunity to snap a picture. But Noooooooooo, me in my infinite wisdom decided to sing to it. I guess I was hoping for it to dance. Well, it did not dance! It looked at me with an expression I can say looked frightened and ran like the wind. My sister laughed so hard I thought she was going to bust a gut.

After grilling some chicken for dinner we took some sweet tea out to the deck to listen to the sounds of nature. I saw more birds, and big ominous looking crows that ever since my mom made us watch Hitchcock movies I am terrified of. I kept telling my sister that they wanted to peck our eyes out but, and it seemed to me that she did this a lot...she laughed at me.

We sat out there and it was really peaceful and quiet, I had to admit that. It started to turn dusk when I happened to look towards the back end of their property when I saw two deer walking together. It seemed like a scene from a movie. They were so beautiful and graceful. I should of gotten a picture but my cell was in the house and didn't want to move and scare them, remember the gopher. At least I didn't sing to them.

I was beginning to see why my sister loved it here out in the middle of nowhere when I heard a howl. I looked at her and asked if her neighbors had dogs. She said no, it was probably a coyote or wolf. So, I started to go towards the house, you know, because they have sharp teeth and are dangerous. She told me that they are wary of humans and stay away unless they are in a pack. Silly me. How do you know if one is in a pack?! She said you would see them...HA! But she convinced me to stay outside with the wolves and coyotes because she really wanted me to hear something. I thought I had heard plenty but reluctantly agreed.

We sat out there until dark, it was a clear night and you could see hundreds of twinkling stars. It was gorgeous. You couldn't see many stars at my house because there were too many street lights. I was standing there just staring up in the sky when one just shot across the sky. A shooting star! I hadn't seen one of them since I was a child. It was pretty cool. I was looking for the big and little dipper when my sister said listen.

I heard this faint sound that sounded like whipawirl. My sister told me it was in fact a whippoorwill and they sing their name when they are nesting or looking for a mate. It just kept on repeating that sound for the whole hour we were outside. It was the most awesome sound I've heard in a while. She also told me they are getting rare. That made me sad. I realized there was so much to nature that I had never seen or heard.

Every night I was there I went outside to listen to that gorgeous sounding bird sing its song. I was hoping it found his mate. If I heard his song I would definitely hook up. I discovered it's mainly the males that continuously sing at night. The females will sing if predators are near.

I looked up the history of the bird and found some interesting wives tales and folklore. People used to think hearing that bird meant your death was coming. If a single woman heard it and she didn't make a wish, and keep it a secret she would remain single for a year. If a man's back was hurting all he had to do was turn somersaults in tune to the bird's song. No problem for a man with a hurt back, right.

On my trip I saw a snake, yuck, a gopher, squirrels, deer, and birds. I saw hundreds of stars, and even a shooting star. Nothing could compare to that singing whippoorwill. Just being outside listening for nature sounds, and seeing all the animals in their natural habitat instead of a zoo was worth being there. It took me back to simpler times from when I was growing up. We lived in a small town and would often just put a blanket out on our lawn and listen to the night sounds and watch the stars.

Today with jobs, family and most certainly technology, which integrates every aspect of our lives, it's too easy to get caught up in tablets, computers, and smart tv's to truly appreciate nature.

I told my sister thank-you for taking me back in time and also introducing me to new nature sights and sounds. I most certainly will be back.





April 26, 2022 16:39

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1 comment

Carmen Lee
16:40 May 06, 2022

I think this story does a really good job at capturing the simplicity and solitude (the good kind) that nature provides. My only suggestion is that you go more into the bird! I liked that part, because I could feel it myself, that moment when you connect with something so peaceful, and it brings you back to earth. I think that should be a bigger part of this story! Otherwise, it was a nice read, and it also reminded me of my childhood.

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