The Outsider: Nightclubs and nightjars
|By Will Jones - The Outsider | May 18, 2017|
Four o’clock in the morning. I remember a time when that would have been the hour when I was sliding home from the club; me and a group of mates, our ears still ringing from a throbbing bass, our eyes wide, minds buzzing with the ‘excitement’ of the evening. Ah, the foolish fun of a younger life.
But four o’clock in the morning now? I’m climbing out of bed, ears ringing with the sound of my alarm clock, eyes blurry, mind struggling to comprehend which end of the toothbrush to put the paste on. And all because I’m going turkey hunting.
Yep, getting up in the middle of the night to chase after a large, round, bald-headed bird call Tom. If you’d have told me that this is what I’d be doing in my midlife, prophesized my future as a turkey hunter, as I wandered home from the nightclub those many years ago, I’d have laughed in your face. Who in their right mind would want to get up almost before they’d gone to bed, blunder about in the darkness setting up plastic turkey decoys, and then sit motionless for hours, all in the hopes of bagging a gobbler? Not me, that’s for sure.
But times change. Pastimes and passions alter. Geography has an influence, too; can’t think of many late night dance clubs in Haliburton, can you? And, here I am, dressed in full camo, seated in the needles and twigs at the base of a giant spruce tree, in the dark.
I smile as I listen to my new music, that of a slowly waking forest. It’s all there, just like 20 years ago. Only not quite so ear-splittingly loud. The mid-section rush of the breeze in the trees, a backing roar from the nearby Burnt River, crashing over boulders and pulling at exposed tree roots. High notes abound, from whippoorwill, thrush and bluejay. There’s the leftfield electronic ‘beep’ of the woodcock; honks of geese, even a ‘gronk gronck’ from a sandhill crane and the low bass notes of the bitten, ‘galumping’ along in the background.
The day is slowly brightening now and the birds work towards a crescendo. But one important one is missing. My soloist, my main attraction. He may not be as tuneful as a thrush or reed warbler but I’m waiting for old Tom. Am I going to hear it, oh how I hope … my mission starts on Sunday morning now, at a time when previously I’d have just been winding down. And my song of songs is not quite as anthemic, not as ‘wave your hands in the air,’ if you get my drift but it is as anticipated, as longed for.
Like that song of songs at the club, the one that took you to a higher place; the one you prayed you’d hear every time you set out on a Saturday night.
And so, I settle in and listen again to the music of the forest, waiting for old Tom to come calling ... I hope for a ‘gobble gobble gobble!’
WILL JONES - is The Outsider