In The Glen: Orgy Songs of the Maenads

The Cascades on Birch Creek channel run-off from last week’s blizzard. [Photo: blind flaneur]
The Cascades on Birch Creek channel run-off from last week’s blizzard. [Photo by a blind flaneur]

Of all the sentences I wrote last week for one reason or another, one still resonates. It described the sound of Eric Dolphy’s bass clarinet, but it reaches for something even wilder than that. The sound is chthonic, like the orgy songs of the Maenads or Walt Whitman’s barbaric yawp.

I heard it again yesterday morning as I walked to the coffee shop to get the Sunday Times. A flock of Canada geese arced over the village, then the Glen, heading toward the river. I decided to follow them, to follow my ear.

I haven’t walked in the Glen since sometime last November. It’s only five minutes from my house, but it feels like another world. Beyond the geese and a chatter of territorial Carolina wrens, there was little evidence that spring has begun in these woods. I heard a pileated woodpecker (now that’s a barbaric yawp), a kingfisher rattling up Birch Creek, and a red-tailed hawk soaring in wide circles over woods and village. I want to think it’s the same hawk I hear above my house every morning at dawn.

The siren song that couldn’t be missed was last week’s foot of snow translated into the rush of falling water. It roared over the limestone lip of the Cascades (above), and it poured forth from bedrock in steady, dependable cadences at the Yellow Springs (below). I took a long drink there, then listened to it drip from my beard.

“Be glad of water,” Robert Frost said.

The Yellow Springs. [Photo: blind flaneur]
The Yellow Springs. [Photo by a blind flaneur]

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4 Responses to In The Glen: Orgy Songs of the Maenads

  1. ms modigliani says:

    Nice photos of The Yellow Springs. Brings back memories of feet dangling over the bridge over the Cascades and intimate conversations.

  2. Mark Willis says:

    Once when Brendan was about 5 years old we sat on the bridge eating lunch, our legs dangling over the edge. I accidentally knocked my walnut walking stick off the bridge. All I could do was watch it go, swept away on the long journey to the Gulf of Mexico.

  3. ms modigliani says:

    Dear BF,

    Just a comment.

    I like to read other people’s comments on blogs (including your own). The only way I can see that there are any comments on particular blogs is by clicking Add Your Comment. Is there another indication that comments lurk behind the postings?

  4. Mark Willis says:

    Yes. Just below every post title on the front page, almost flush left, there is a number indicating the number of comments on the post’s permalink page. Click that number and it will take you directly to the comments. “Add Your Comment” takes you to the same place.

    It’s also possible to set up and subscribe to an RSS feed for comments — one feed for all comments globally as well as individual feeds for comments from each post. I don’t know how to do that yet, but I’d try it with your assistance on Friday.

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