Historical Excerpt – Thomas Moses, “The Brook,” part 4

“At this season of the year there is little bird song to be heard, the scream of the jay, delightful to me for some obscure reason in spite of its harshness is heard now and then. Chickadees are saying their own names over and overs in the pine grove, changing now and then to the whistled minor interval they have taken from the phoebe and improved upon. The blue birds and robins are convening for their long flight and their restless chirping notes express in the same breath both reluctance and eagerness to be gone. Far up above a crow is cawing as he flaps heavily over with a whole dome of the sky for his sounding board. On a dry bough of a nearby tree a woodpecker is drumming, not interrupting but seeming to deepen and intensify the stillness of the woods. Under the songs of leaves, insect and birds, there lives another sound far more tenuous and ethereal to which a trained intensely listening ear can sometimes pierce. That is
Little noiseless noise among the leaves
Born of the very sigh that silence heaves – Keats
A woodchuck is scurrying along the top of a low stone wall, growling at me, for my intrusion. Of all wild animal life that I meet in the woods, a woodchuck or ground hog is the only one that I am not interested in. They are repulsive to me. I love to hear the chatter of the squirrels, especially when I invade their special domain. I love to lingering the woods until the sun has set, so I can study the wonderful lace effect of the foliage silhouetted against the brilliant sky. Leaving the woods behind and making my way across the fields to the country road to meet the boys, or afoot or horseback, driving their cattle home from the rich pastures, brings one out of his day dream, back to the realism of life that is filled with grief and disappointment in our inability to convey to nature our sketch block and feel satisfied with the result.”

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