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Our adventures began with a bird call

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A recent spectacular display of northern lights causes me to discuss the subject in reminiscent manner, and to corroborate my recollections I've just telephoned the Maine Audubon Society to ask what the songbird is that tweets "O Canada." I'm thinking back when the Canadian anthem was "The Maple Leaf Forever," and "O Canada" was still just a jolly snatch of old French-Canadian folk music.

I have worn a robin membership button of the Audubon Society since 1914, and this is the first time I've bothered them, which I think is decent of me and should be appreciated. The lady was pleasant and said she did not know, but somebody would call me back.

I think it is prudent to get all the little details in hand before tackling the main subject. So while we await to hear what that bird is, I'll proceed as best I can without the information. I believe I was about to mention Eddie Skillin.

Eddie was my closest school-day buddy, and we did many things together that I cherish in recollective moments, from dipping smelts to seeking will-o'-the-wisps in May meadows (of which we found many). Eddie and I each had a signal whistle to alert the other if one of us had an idea. Upon hearing it under my midnight window, I would arise and meet Eddie by the rhubarb and we would attend to our fantasies. Or he, me.

Like Shakespeare on the well-trod stage anon, we warbled native woodnotes wild, for our signal was (I think) the song of the white-throated sparrow, "O Canada," unless I have different information subsequently from the Audubon people.


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