Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sounds and smells

The questions from the trail this morning dealt with sounds and smells. The sounds are the welcoming peeps of the diminutive frogs called Spring Peepers and the Cardinals and their colleagues with stripes on their wings called Red Wing Black Birds. The peepers make almost a magical chorus of sounds that accompany summer night activities. The frog repertoire is somewhat limited and repetitive as they vocalize their simple “Peep”. From a musician’s point of view the peep starts with an abrupt staccato and phrases through a brief crescendo with an abrupt end at about the dynamic level with which it started. It doesn’t take long to describe it, but it is amazingly beautiful in its simplicity and form. Experiencing the peep show is much more enjoyable than trying to explain or describe it. As we approach their rehearsal rooms tucked in shallow cold swamp areas they begin to go silent one by one until we pass. It does not take long for the rehearsal to begin again as they feel safe by our passing. I wonder what they think we are? It is human nature to imagine scenarios of thought spinning around in their heads, but in God’s critters at this level we are probably only experiencing their hard wired instinct. Most of us have seen too many Bambi movies where animals have anthropomorphic intellect and activity. In reality the peeps probably only mean, “Hey, I am over here! Now where are you?” And, “Hey when it gets a little warmer I may want some company – you interested?”
As morning emerges on the trail in early spring another critter joins the rehearsal. This dynamically clad bird in full red regalia is nature’s first announcement of morning breaking out of the night. The night shift of Whippoorwills begins to clock out as the light rays from ole Sol erase the dark and they go silent. Owls announce the end of their nightly chores and Turkeys from their roosts brag about their plans for the day. Crows rakishly remind everyone with their calls which feel like a cold glass of water poured down your back that the stressless night of quiet is over in the woods. It is then that the judgmental red and fundamentally religious Cardinals begin to accuse us of moral failure. They say, “Cheater – Cheater” until we all feel guilty and remember the times we allowed our eyes to stray to that smart girl’s test paper. There is nothing in winter more stunning than a red Cardinal in a green Cedar tree on snow covered ground. So, we will agree overlook the legalistic tendencies of the Cardinal to feast our eyes on their striking color despite their accusatory call.
I want to include the water music of the Red Wing Black Bird as I conclude today’s installment. Their wet and wonderful gurgle reminds me of cane poles, Blue Gills and worms and bobbers. The Red Wing Blackbird has sung the soundtrack to many a fun day around water as I remember my childhood and fishing with my grand dad and Aunt Wilma on Clarence’s’ pond. So, as the daily trail ritual is nearing completion and we make the final pass by the alligator swamp we are allowed to hear the beautiful water music of the Red Wing Blackbird and it takes our memory back to days in the sun.
I almost forgot that I was going to talk about sounds and smells. Smells, skunks love the early spring too. Nuf said

1 comment:

  1. very well written imagery, scotty. glad you got a shout out to the skunks at the end... :)