Friday, May 17, 2013

Five Minutes of Song

I'm giving Five Minute Friday a try again this week. The instructions are simple-write for five minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.  Link back to Five Minute Friday and invite others to join in too.  Consider yourselves invited.  Finally, be generous and leave an encouraging comment for the person who linked up before you.

Today's prompt-Song

It's that time of year where something in the air assures us summer is just around the bend. Growing up I spent my summers at camp, first as a camper and later as a counselor. I remember the welcome hush that fell over a cabin at nighttime. Girls in my care, full of words and laughter and questions, finally drifting into slumber.

Days were lived outdoors in the summers of my youth. We swam and sailed and paddled, made the uphill climb from the waterfront and ran to capture the flag. We yelled 'red rover red rover come on over' under a sun drenched Chesapeake sky.

I remember the exhale at the end of a day. Crawling in to my sleeping bag, the sound of night all around. Sometimes I slept on top because this was camp, and the only air conditioning was a warm sticky breeze inching its way through a tightly woven screen. The only night light, a summer moon.

It was a good tired.

I closed my eyes and let the day fall away. It was always in this space between wake and sleep that her song began.  Not a softly whispered lullaby suited to the quiet place where day ebbs into night and back again.  Her song was loud, clear, distinct...a single line repeated over and over, winging it's way over and under and through a night forest.


It seeped into your head and before you knew it you were singing it too.

There is no mistaking the song of the whippoorwill. She's a bird named for the song she sings.  Onomatopoeia. A lonely sound, ethereal... she calls but no one answers.

Mostly though, it was aggravating to an exhausted nineteen year old girl trying to sleep in a cabin in the woods. I'd pull my pillow tight around my ears, trying somehow to block the unblockable.


Decades roll by and memory piles upon memory. Every once in a while she calls to me still...different woods, same sad song. When I hear her sing the years fall away, and I go back to that place where dreams were planted and roots took wing. The place where tall trees kissed the bay and God felt close enough to touch.

Where the whippoorwill sang on a moonlit summer night.


  1. Love the way a birdsong is connected to such vivid memories...even annoyances can bring back positive memories. Really beautiful imagery and now I can't wait to head to Maine this SUmmer even more!

  2. I absolutely love this. I just wanted you to keep writing. Maybe that's because I'm a camp person too and could feel and smell and see those things so clearly. And hear her song even here. Beautiful. Glad FMF brought me here. God bless!

  3. Camp - I never attended as a kid, but my husband and both of my girls spent almost every summer at camp. They all loved it dearly! The stories I've heard from them sound like so much fun. Loved your story today. Brought back memories of all they have shared with me over the years.

  4. I love hearing the birds singing - they are so happy! And, the morning doves cooing remind me of summer days at our Lakeside, Ohio cottage.

  5. I didn't realise this bird really exists. I always thought it was fictional!

  6. There is nothing in the world like that is one of my fondest memories.
    Love your beautiful description. It brought it right back to mind, and heart.

  7. What a wonderful memory! I went to day camp so I got to sleep in my own bed every night but the days were spend outside having a blast. I love how you describe your youth. I can see it in my mind.