One of my favorite chapters to write!
I couldn’t believe it—it actually worked. As I sat at the top of the hill at ALI near my classmates, suddenly we heard the forest come alive with bird calls and songs. Jonah had led us on a relatively long nature walk checking out animal tracks and looking and learning about trees. I think he was also trying to tire us out, so we might sit still. Once at the top of the hill, he prompted us to sit spread out from each other a little ways, stay still, and just listen. He promised if we waited long enough and were patient enough, then something special would happen. We sat fidgeting beneath the mixed hardwood forest, just far enough away from each other to not start whispering or causing trouble. After about twenty minutes we all heard it: a distinctive whistling sound with a slight trill.
We quietly huddled together with Jonah.
“That’s a bobwhite. It’s usually the first to begin calling again. But let’s stay quiet and keep listening.”
As we sat, more birds began to call, and there was even one I recognized.
“A cardinal!” I whispered in an excited voice.
Jonah nodded at me and put his finger to his lips as I continued to listen, chagrined.