Sound of the Whip-Poor-Will via The Macaulay Library
My baby lay on a rainbow rug on a granite summit, the cells of her new born skin shimmering in the Maine sun. Big Fall skies stretched bands of cloud to streamers, whilst hundreds of acres of clear-fell and regenerating forest rolled atop the undulations below us. A few passerines flitted high in the cerulean, like moths.
I gazed deep into Gracie’s brown eyes and watched as she absorbed my animated mouthing of words … ‘big blue sky’, ‘clouds’, ‘birds’. She looked up into the air, kicked her legs and returned her gaze to me. I smiled, packed her changing things away into a shoulder bag and scooped her up into my arms to face the vista. We danced to a silent rhythm, as parents and their children so often do, and she regained her sense of up and down. The gentle arch of Earth’s distant horizon burned into our memory cells.
And then, with a few tentative steps to avoid the oldest of lichens healing this bald mountain, we joined new friends for the return hike. As we made our way downwards, the sky turned slate with encroaching night and stained black the few blueberries left uneaten by bears on the path. What’s more, as we returned to the car, I think we heard the lament of a distant whip-poor-will. I am not entirely sure. It is humbling that some things will always remain a beautiful and affecting mystery. Gracie heard it too, turning to the sky to look for a bird. Connections had been made.
Great Pond Mountain was a grand moment in the small scheme of things, a quintessential mother-daughter bonding in fresh air and crystal light. I’m sure my daughter had noticed birds before in her short few weeks thus far, but their presence in that particular sky, above that particular mountain, I’d like to imagine, is the moment she discovered life as interconnected ~ we, the sky, birds and love.