Listening for The First Song of Spring

After 12 days of snow cover and subfreezing temperatures, I’ll take any sign I can get that spring will come. I heard it just before daybreak this morning in the song of a Carolina wren. It’s been around all year, of course, and I hear its call notes every day. But today it sang its strident territorial song for the first time this winter. It’s singing a week earlier than I expected.

Several years ago, this bird or one of its predecessors built its nest underneath one of my upturned canoes. The stern seat made a secluded nesting ledge. I didn’t lift that boat off the rack until mid-summer after the young birds fledged.

Here’s a clip of a singing Carolina wren made last June in Clark County, Ohio, just up the road from where I live. [Thanks to iwanderpaths]

This entry was posted in Playing by Ear and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Listening for The First Song of Spring

  1. I found your website a week or so ago and have been enjoying it very much. I love the writing, the photographs, the links which reveal ” the world which lies before us, so various, so beautiful, so new…”. Here in the mountains of North Carolina we’ve also we’ve had weeks of snow and cold. No Carolina Wrens yet, but sunshine and 48 degrees today. I especially enjoyed your writings from Paris and the Galerie Vivienne. You have revealed to me that I wish to devote my remaining years to being ‘une Flaneureuse’ (is that correct?) and your website enables me to do that, even when snowbound. Thank you.

  2. Mark Willis says:


    Flâneuse is the feminine form of flâneur in French. For the sake of full linguistic disclosure, I should explain that I drop the “â” in flâneur on this web site because I want “flaneur” to optimize in English-language search engines. It is my hope and belief that “flaneur” will gain wider and wider usage in English, as it conveys a beautiful concept that no single English word achieves. “Pedestrian” just doesn’t make the grade.

    Flânerie, the French verb for it, is a vocation you can pursue anywhere, even on the Internet. While verifying my spelling, I came across an interesting web site by Dana Goldstein – What Is a Flâneuse?

    It pleases me very much to think that my site could inspire one to flânerie. I wish you many simple pleasures as a flâneuse!


    p.s. In my salad days, long before I ever heard of flânerie, I took some long walks on and off the Appalachian Trail in your corner of North Carolina. It’s a beautiful land.

  3. Mark,

    Thanks for the correction and information. Dana’s idea of une Flaneuse is much too ambitious for me. Your ‘simple pleasures’ is more the idea I have in mind – a stroll through the woods here or finding the poem by Rumi or Van Gogh’s Roses on your site, or finding another book I like as much as Mercier’s ‘Night Train to Lisbon’, or someday being in Paris again. But there’s something more to it – an openess to the moment? It will be fun to search for the right words. In the meantime I shall ‘ flanerie’ with much pleasure through your archives.


Comments are closed.