Friday, November 08, 2002



This morning before dawn I was screeched from the deeps of sleep by the uncomfortably close-up vast barndoor-hinge squawk of the pheasant Elvis, who was belting them out from inside the dense mountain bamboo below, just the other side of the woodpile. Yesterdawn he had been doing his unlevel best from a reasonable distance upmountain, like a kid swinging on heaven's barn door, squeaking it over and over and over (how the hens find that sound charming I can't imagine, but every year there are lots of pheasant chicks, so there must be oodles of charm in it somewhere, and in out-of-tune violins played execrably). I've been in that bamboo, it's ideal for kids' fishing poles, maybe even light flyrods, and it is dense, I've been far into the depths of that thicket on my hands and knees after good bamboo for garden stakes, and to cut down fast-growth scrub trees that obscure the view and shade the air potatoes that grow in fall like a lacy yellow-silver net across the bamboo tops in places, and I've sort of swum along the bamboo tops after air potatoes themselves, and when you are in or even on there, and not a bird or a snake or a fox but one that needs to be upright, the bamboo rules completely. I can't imagine going in there and calling out to feathered ladyfriends, even as Elvis.

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