Craftsbury choirs–birds and writers

While I am occasionally red-eyed, I do not speak for the red-eyed vireo. And while I sometimes crow, I do not crow for the sparrow. They have their voices. As does the chestnut-sided warbler, northern waterthrush, common yellowthroat, white-throated sparrow, song sparrow; there are more. And when you go birding in Vermont’s early-morning mist you see them all through the auditory acuity of David Brown.

Take the common yellowthroat who goes, as Dave says, "witchety-witchety-witchety." Or the northern waterthrush’s twit-twit-twit; sweet-sweet-sweet; chew-chew-chew. The white-throated sparrow was heard, but not by me; it may have stirred a sentiment as it sang, O-sweet-Canada; Canada; Canada. Then there’s the olive-sided flycatcher, who demands, Quick; three-beers! The song sparrow: Maids-maids-maids-put-on-your-tea-kettle-ettle-ettle, is fine, if you’re into it; but they all take an prudential back seat to the May West of avian burlesque, the confessing warbling vireo, who says, If I sees you; I will seize you; and I’ll squeeze you till you squirt. Bird porn said one observer.

It’s a choir. Randy and sublime. And if you listen with your eyes and see with your ears as well as David your very attentiveness advocates for vireos and sparrows. Advocates for air that’s ringing with song. Advocates for the earth—to be given a berth.

Sterling College 1

I’m in Vermont, at Craftsbury’s Sterling College, I’m singing out in this writerly choir—like the avian choir, its randy and sublime.

Sterling College 2


  1. I don’t comment as often as I should, to tell you how much I appreciate these posts of yours. So once again: thank you!

    The writing program sounds wonderful, by the way, and that place looks great! I hope you enjoy it.

  2. Thank you Kelly, it’s always heartening to know that you check in. The program is indeed wonderful, fine writers, like in our own town. I have a growing respect for Orion magazine, their vision, the writers they peruse, as well as cultivate. And yes, the place is a curios kind of American bridge, culturally and aesthetically: Queen Ann architecture and old New England feel, liberal sensitivity, rural work ethic. Thanks again, s

  3. Stephen, the pieces about the Wildbranch experience are hauntingly beautiful.
    I love the line “Advocates for the air that’s ringing with song.”
    I regret not having the chance to talk with you more last week but I so loved the piece you wrote. So much for each of us to think about and consider how we need to change the situations that are all too prevalent.

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