Late in the week at New River, Beth G. and I had separated ourselves for an hour or so from the “serious birders” in order to photograph the Glade Creek Mill at Babcock State Park. It’s a very pretty setting and deserved some time of its own.
So Beth set up her tripod and we scrambled around on the rocks in the middle of the creek for a perfect view of the mill… of course I was distracted the whole time by the fishermen who station themselves along the way. I’m always on the prowl for interesting strangers to photograph, but more often than not, my shyness gets in the way of asking for a photo.
So this guy approached us, once we had given up on photography and decided to go back to birding, to ask us what we were doing there that day and where we were from, etc.
We told him we were there to look at birds and his response was, “The birds are all dead.”
And he told us about, how, as a kid up at dawn, there used to be a deafening sound of song from birds. He doesn’t hear that anymore. Doesn’t hear birds singing, at all. So they’re all dead.
Mind you, his accent was pretty thick, so maybe I misheard him.
In my devilishly charming sort of way I suggested that maybe his hearing was just going… that birds were still singing, but his ears were just too old to hear them, maybe.
This was the moment when I asked for his photo. It’s one of my favorites.