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Things Of The Earth Call Our Names

Yesterday, as I shifted my weight in shaving, the subfloor said, in a far, thin woman's voice, ``Paul.'' And later the door hinges again called it out, commanding me to oil them. (Wholly dry, rusty hinges say ``Sidney.'') I set a mug down too hard, and it barked a single, definite ``Paul'' of protest. Were my name Theodore, I wouldn't hear it so often, spoken by anxious or put upon things. It takes a mockingbird to say, ``Theodore,'' slipping it into the woof of its song, along with Barbara, Margaret, Caroline, and other polysyllables. But crows, they all proclaim my coming, in harsh, reedy cries, over and over. If we listen, we all hear the frequent wind, the things of the earth, call our names. Bluejays, for example, when full, when feeling mild, say my brother's name, ``David,'' lyrically, bobbing on their twigs, ``David, David.'' That's what my father said a long time ago. They still do it - very clearly. He was right.

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