Thursday, November 24, 2005


Outside early friends coming over and a turkey to smoke. This is the time of year I can't sit still. Just like the rest of the times of year, but late November gets me supercharged. I think it's because of some deep racial memory that knows the dark gray Ides of December are crawling up from hades. Persephone and Zeus are back at it and the rest of us are going to have to deal with it.

Something in me just has to cut firewood. At this point it will be next year's wood because the rick is overflowing. Unless it's colder longer than it has been for the last twenty years, I'll have plenty for a while yet. Still, I take the old truck up on the hillside and shorten some logs. Cut and load, cut and load, that's the cycle... rest breaks are built in. During one of the breaks, when all around me was the sound of the forest, there was a croak from on high that got my attention. I didn't recognize it at first and it seemed to be coming from the ridge top, several hundred feet in elevation above me. Then it was nearly above me in the low clouds and I knew what it would be. Out of a cloud flew thirty or so Sand Hill cranes on their way to the Hiwassee refuge, only thirty miles left in a thousand mile flight. I took the binoculars and watched them fly, like pogo sticks with wings. Cranes are easily identified by the long legs extended out the back, never tucked under. Their large body bobs up and down in counterpoint to the methodical wing flap, each one taking turns singing the not quite hoink, not quite croak that carries them along. With the binoculars I could see their heads turn, showing the long feathers on their heads. It is cold if you aren't moving so I set the glasses down and went bask to loading firewood.

But I was accompanied by Crane-song now. Aldo Leopold wrote of "goose music" and the possible tragedy that could befall the world if no goose music were left for future generations. They hunt Sand Hill Cranes now, in Wisconsin. The cranes are now a commodity and someone will pay to keep them around. I am saddened that commerce is our one true religion in this world, for now, but so it is and we must deal with it.

For now, I can be happy watching the young button bucks play fighting on the driveway and wonder what it was that the hawk just screamed across the gorge to kill under the canopy of brown hickory leaves.

I have music for Thanksgiving.




  1. I wonder if those who read your journal can really believe that there's a place so special as White's Creek. Well I've been there by canoe and it's true! Your writing brings it to life and reminds me of what I'm missing.

    (I think)


  2. Just park at the end of the road and help yourself.