Welcome to where I am, where my kitchen's always messy, a pot's (or a poet) always about to boil over, a dog is always begging to be fed. Drafts of poems on the counter. Windows filled with leaves. Wind. Clouds moving over the mountains. If you like poetry, books, and music--especially dog howls when a siren unwinds down the hill-- you'll like it here.


MY NEW AUTHOR'S SITE, KATHRYNSTRIPLINGBYER.COM, THAT I MYSELF SET UP THROUGH WEEBLY.COM, IS NOW UP. I HAD FUN CREATING THIS SITE AND WOULD RECOMMEND WEEBLY.COM TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN SETTING UP A WEBSITE. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT MY NEW SITE TO KEEP UP WITH EVENTS RELATED TO MY NEW BOOK.


MY NC POET LAUREATE BLOG, MY LAUREATE'S LASSO, WILL REMAIN UP AS AN ARCHIVE OF NC POETS, GRADES K-INFINITY! I INVITE YOU TO VISIT WHEN YOU FEEL THE NEED TO READ SOME GOOD POEMS.

VISIT MY NEW BLOG, MOUNTAIN WOMAN, WHERE YOU WILL FIND UPDATES ON WHAT'S HAPPENING IN MY KITCHEN, IN THE ENVIRONMENT, IN MY IMAGINATION, IN MY GARDEN, AND AMONG MY MOUNTAIN WOMEN FRIENDS.




Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mockingbird, Mockingbird


My friend Jane Wood of Wilson, NC, has just published a book drawing together columns from the Wilson newspaper, where her essays on nature and her dances with it have graced the pages for a number of years. Jane is also a poet, and if you've been following My Laureate's Lasso, you know that she has done pioneer-woman work in bringing poetry to fourth graders in her county. She's been doing it for a coon's age. She's a state treasure, if ever there was one. Here's one of the essays from her WILDING A TAME HEART:0ne naturalist's experiences. You may order the book directly from Jane herself. She opted out of Amazon, preferring to have personal contact with her readers. Here's her address:
10717 Old Bailey Hwy., Wilson NC 27896 (252) 243-6708. The book is $14.95, plus tax ($1.05) and shipping ($2.75) total price $18.75 .


Moonlight and Mockingbirds

by Jane Wood

We're all familiar with the "boss" of our backyard bird kingdom, the mockingbird. Don't we know people with the same obnoxious, gabby, demanding personality? Whew! How tiresome they are! And yet that bird, as those people, does have redeeming graces.

The mocker, like our friends or family members, is so alive, so alert, so attentive to everything and everyone in his world that he cannot be ignored. He is exuberant to the point of stealing the songs of other birds and performing them by imitation, a cappella. I've always heard that imitation is the finest form of flattery. Of course Mr. Mocker just might be trying, in desperation, to be accepted. He isn't alone in his habit of bogus song however; the brown thrasher is also a class act of vocal ersatz. Both birds are long legged, long tailed and long beaked. Both are keenly alive and active and visible during mating season.

The bird that deserves a "Bravo" for exceptional performance is Mr. Mocker. He rivals Pavarotti with his solo concerts. Oh, yes, and he does have a captive audience; what else are we doing in the middle of a moonlit summer night? What other competition, as far as worldly noise, is there? This bird mounts a fence post or low tree branch stage and belts out magnificent arias. Well, maybe they're not original since his repertoire is made up of stolen melodies, but we're living in a world where everything can be explained away as either politically or non-politically correct. So who am I to condemn plagiarism?

Moonlight. Why the appeal? Is it due to legend? Is there really a connection to the energy in the human mind? I think so. I am restless on full moon nights. I have this urge to get out of bed and go into the deep woods behind my house. Yes, I have done that, and it is exhilarating! Once I even coached my grandson to accompany me. At age five he was a bit awed by it all - the nocturnal choir, the shadows, the towering silhouettes… mosquitoes. But I felt a connection with the luminous moonlight all melted down on the forest floor. We stood perfectly still and took in the night sounds around us - awesome! It was a different world!

Remember, we learned in school that in Latin the word for moon is "luna." Picture the lovely pale green luna moth that comes out on summer nights to feed, then disappears at dawn. We also are aware that a derivative of luna is lunatic. Could that apply to those who are drawn into the moon light for a different kind of
nourishment?

7 comments:

Abe Lincoln said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your post today. I have enjoyed newspaper columns about Nature and other things for the past 50 years but then we stop subscribing to newspapers and look at them on the Internet. I still write columns for newspapers but I also write and publish photos online myself.

You probably remember when people lived and died at home and endured wakes. I wrote about it here. http://bing-it.blogspot.com/

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Hello, thanks for stopping by! Jane will be delighted that you enjoyed her essay. She's been writing these columns for years. I'll have to look up some of your columns. And I'll spend more time at your blog.
Yes, I remember wakes. Both my grandmother and grandfather lay "in state" in the living room of our farm house when I was young.
My father died at home, blessedly.
No wake, though. But a huge outpouring of condolences, in the flesh, from friends and family. Our driveway was a constant coming and going.

Julie said...

What a wonderful read. I will add this book to my "must buy" list. I grew up next door to a fish house, and the mockingbirds would add the sounds of boat engines and the clam grader to their songs. I swear I'm not making that up. I love those crazy birds.

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Julie, thank you for your comment. I've just been to your blog. I should get to know you better. Where are you now? I'd like to have some of your work on my laureate blog. K.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

This was a beautiful read.

The birds wake us up every morning here in the mountains where it's still cool enough to sleep with the windows open at night. I wish I knew more about how to identify birds by their sounds. My husband is much better at it but I'm learning a lot.
Sam

Julie said...

Thank you, Kathryn. I'd be honored to have my work on your blog. I'm in Durham now. It's so beautiful, and I hear the poetry scene is great. I'm still in the process of discovering what's here, which is how I found your site. I love it.

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

Kay,
Thank you for posting the book and poetry about Ms. Wood. Sounds like a great book. I enjoy visiting your blogs. Keep up the great work!