I have read of the streams that flow over India’s golden sands, down Italy’s mountains, through England’s meadows; but none of them can sing sweeter songs or have more interest to the inch than the Limberlost.
It is born in the heart of swampy wood and thicket, flows over a bed of muck or gravel, the banks are grass and flower-lined, its waters cooled and shaded by sycamore maple, and willow. June drapes it in misty white, and November spreads a blanket of scarlet and gold. In the water fish, turtle, crab, muskrat, and water puppy disport themselves. Along the shores the sandpiper, plover, coot, bittern, heron, and crane take their pleasure and seek their food. Above the hawk and vulture wheel, soar, and sail in high heaven, and the kingfisher dashes in merry rattling flight between the trees, his reflection trailing after him across sunlit pools.
The Limberlost is a wonderful musician, singing the song of running water throughout its course. Singing that low, somber, sweet song that you must get very close to earth to hear, because the creek has such mighty responsibility it hesitates to sing loudly lest it appear to boast.
All the trees rustle and whisper, shaking their branches to shower it with a baptism of gold in pollen time. The rushes and blue flags murmur together, and the creek and every sound belonging to it all combine in the song of the Limberlost.
Note: Excerpts from “Music of the Wild” in the section Songs of the Fields.