Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sheila Burnford Quote for the Day: Don't try this in a crowded place.

From The Fields of Noon, by Sheila Burnford, 1964.  In this essay, Ms. Burnford recalls her attempt to imitate the vocalizations of various forms of Saskatchewan wildlife. 
At last, listening one morning to the tantalizing clamour overhead, I realized where I had gone wrong.  I had tried to be a chorus of geese.  I had been attempting something like singing all four parts of a quartet simultaneously.  Now I listened carefully and isolated a contralto of about my range in the flock, who kept up an obliging steady honking.  I threw back my head, to make my neck as long and gooselike as possible; opened my throat as though I were about to pour something down it, then fooled it at the last moment by howling like a lovelorn wolf--and out came a perfect yelping honk.  My contralto friend answered, an echelon of her relatives joined in, so did the dog; and as I crouched there, howling my heart out, wingless but ecstatic, the long V wavered, then turned, and our unlovely duet rose and mingled at last in the wild harmony above as they flew directly over us.

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