Sunday, April 15, 2007
The whippoorwill is a night bird, although sometimes you hear them in late evening. They nest in wooded places and are seldom seen. Thus the picture, which was taken from our deck of the evening woods around our place.
I grew up in the country in Arkansas and grew to love the sound of whippoorwills. It's a lonely sound; it makes you ache. But it touches you. In the last couple of evenings I've begun to hear whippoorwills around my house in Abita Springs, and the memories and feelings aroused by the bird's call have come surging back. I had been lamenting to Lana only a few weeks before that I'd not heard the whippoorwills and that I missed them. I'm listening each night for them now. I hope they will stay.
The name of the wipoorwill comes from the sound of its call, although my mom always told me that the bird wasn't saying "whip poor will" but said instead, "Chick fell out of the willow." That's always how I hear it.
The whippoorwill is supposed to be able to sense a soul departing after death, and that's why they call. Lovecraft used them for this purpose in some of his stories. So did August Derleth. I don't know about that. I know only that their sound renews my soul. It lets me know I'm alive.