“On certain occasions, an inherent symmetry falls into place like the intermeshing gears of an old-time pocket watch—perfect alignment where all things are connected and work together, moving over the water, the land, permeating the air. It’s an overall sense of balance, of past and present, flowing energy followed by calm…”
--Stephen Lyn Bales
Last night, just as I was about to call it a night, a whip-poor-will began to sing right outside my window. Oh, my heart! It was only a couple of months ago that I was searching for reference photos and laboring over a sketch of this elusive nocturnal bird, a bird that I have never seen and whose song I had not heard since childhood, a bird whose numbers have declined by 57% in the past forty years.
Whip-poor-wills arrive in Tennessee around the first of April, spending their days roosting on tree limbs or on the forest floor and their nights hunting insects on the fly with large wide open mouths aided by long whiskers. They lay their eggs in leaf litter on the ground in late April with incubation lasting 19-20 days. Amazingly, these parents coordinate egg-laying with the moon cycle so they have the best moonlight while feeding their brood.You may wonder how these birds survive with such vulnerable habits. The secret is camouflage. You would be more likely to have heart-stopping fright as this bird flushes from beneath your step, then to ever see one at roost among the leaves.
Did I tell you I heard a whip-poor-will singing last night?
For the Love of It...
...the sage sees heaven reflected in Nature as in a mirror, and he pursues this Art, not for the sake of gold or silver, but for the love of the knowledge which it reveals.