In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Island music

The trilling of the toads began eleven days ago. Now every evening they sing their abundant song, a chorus that  floats up from the cheerful neighbourhood watering hole that is their gathering place. There are no divas in the toad world. They are a harmonious lot, and they sing together. I imagine that if I were to walk quietly around the island at night I would hear them in every bog and swamp and low damp place: the whole island giving off a hopeful trilling sound.

In the middle of the night we hear the loon who has settled onto the cove water. Her call is singular. No living thing could resist the loon's call, and yet she is floating out there in the darkness by herself, at least for now. It is said that loons winter in the salt water and breed on the lakes in summer, but there are a few loons who spend their summers here in the cove, their lives elsewhere mysterious to us.

The wild bees are already hovering along the branches of the apple trees, even though the buds have not yet opened. If the world is quiet enough around you, you can hear the tiny sound of their wings beating against the air. I have read that the various sorts of wild bees emerge from their secret places exactly when their food supply is ready for them. I wonder how they can find what they need, since when I look around the only flowers I see that are open for business are the daffodils. On this subject, I imagine the wild bees know things I do not.

I heard the white throated sparrow for the first time today. If there were a Church of the Wild Things -- and maybe there is; who knows? --  this would be a holiday, or, as they were called back in the day, a holy day. But then if we were to celebrate such things, every day would be a holy day and we would never get our work done. There would be First Trilling Night, and a Loon Vigil, and an uproarious Wild Bee Day. And when the white throated sparrow returned to the island from God knows where, and perched impossibly high on a dead spruce tree and opened his beak and poured out his luminous notes for the first time, we would drop our rakes and stand in silent, gaping wonder.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your response...

and what a great post, you write beautifully. For some reason your blog does not update on my blogroll. I thought you had not written in quite a while.

Neil and Susan Brown said...

Hello Anne!

You must have a pure ecological balance on your Island. Frog sounds are a very good indication of this. Everything sounds beautiful where you are. We are hosting a large flurry of bright yellow finches on our Island right now. It's nice to finally have Spring.

Janet said...

Yesterday I was reminded that you can't hurry nature - I've been anxious to see signs of spring up here on the North Mountain and so far very little - a few sprouting columbine leaf whorls and a reddening of the red maple. Went to the valley to do errands and shop and forsythia, magnolia and all the spring bulbs are a tapestry of colour. All I have to do is wait patiently for ten more days up here as we are ten days to a fortnight behind in our progression.