An Odorous Sound

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The first bird I searched for was the nightjar, which used to nest in the valley. Its song is like the sound of a stream of wine spilling from a height into a deep and booming cask. It is an odorous sound, with a bouquet that rises to the quiet sky. In the glare of day it would seem thinner and drier, but dusk mellows it and gives it vintage. If a song could smell, this song would smell of crushed grapes and almonds and dark wood. The sound spills out, and none of it is lost. The whole wood brims with it. Then it stops. Suddenly, unexpectedly. But the ear hears it still, a prolonged and fading echo, draining and winding out among the surrounding trees.

J. A. Baker, The Peregrine (1967)

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One thought on “An Odorous Sound

  1. That’s beautiful Jonathan – so glad I had a chance to read that vingette today. Thanks so much for posting and have a wonderful afternoon!

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