Strangers in the Night
August 10, 2013
I have a roommate, a solitary catbird. For two months she has spent the night perched atop the left porch support. At first I thought she had a nest there. But no. Something may have happened to the babies and the male left. There she rests, her grey-white body folded into a round shape conforming to the curvature of the aluminum platform, head facing the door.
If I open the door, she flies off and always skips the next night. If I open the curtain on the door, she stares at me, this sister of the mockingbird. She makes me sad, though I can’t think why. “The catbird seat,” coined by legendary baseball announcer Red Barber, means sitting pretty. But my catbird sister seems lonely. I relate. With all the woods around me, why is she perched there?
Last night I turned off all the lights and watched her in darkness. She didn’t move a muscle in ten minutes.
Always at six in the morning, she is gone. At sundown, I watch for her.
About Eugene Jones Baldwin
I am a writer: non-fiction, fiction, journalism (Alton Telegraph), essays (The Genehouse Chronicles) and have a website: eugenebaldwin.com. I've published a couple dozen short stories and had eleven plays produced. Current projects: "Brother of the Stones" (available on Kindle), a book of short stories; "The Faithful Husband of the Rain, short stories"; "A Black Soldier's Letters Home, WWII,;" "There is No Color in Justice," a commentary on racism; "Ratkillers," a new play.
I am an avocational archaeologist and I take parts of my collection of several thousand Indian artifacts (personal finds) to schools, nature centers, libraries etc. and talk about the 20,000 year history of The First people in Illinois. (See link to website)
I'm also a playwright (eleven plays produced), musician, historian (authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois, the Tuskegee Airmen) and teacher.
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