Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wonder of the Week: what’s that tapping?

On one Friday morning early, as I pondered weak and weary over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore [15-year old project reports] -- while I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, as of someone gently rapping, rapping at my kitchen door?  Maybe ... I wasn’t sure.

I knew it wasn’t a raven, they don’t live here.  Perhaps it was one of the many crows that hang out in our neighborhood.
American crows, photo(s) from Wikimedia Commons.
Vainly I had tried to borrow from these reports surcease of sorrow ... but cessation wasn’t happening, and that insistent rhythmic tapping didn’t help my mood at all.  Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, here I opened wide the door.  Long I stood in sunlight wondering, soon I heard again a tapping somewhat louder than before.  “Surely,” said I, “surely that is -- something at my window lattice; let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore.”
It was neither crow nor raven, but a bird who had found haven, drumming in the sun -- and nothing more.  And the bird was still beguiling all my stressed soul into smiling, so I went inside and got my camera.

The beguiling bird stayed another five minutes or so, continuing to drill into the east wall of my house.  It was a hairy woodpecker.
I guess I should have been concerned, but given that the usual birds in my yard are house sparrows, house finches, European starlings and an occasional rock pigeon, I was happy to have this visitor.  After he left, I took a closer look at the object of his attention -- a vertical slot in a wooden shake.  I doubt he created it himself, but there must have been something yummy in there prompting him to enlarge it a bit.
Back into the study turning, all my soul within me burning, again I read those pages -- though their answer little meaning, little relevancy bore.   Then upon the cushion sinking, I betook myself to thinking:  “This is just a store of ink -- and nothing more.”
The trials and tribulations of research.

Lyrical language in this post by, or inspired by, Edgar Allen Poe (The Raven, American Review, February 1845, 1:143-145).  Engravings by Gustave Doré, modified slightly.

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