The Night the Whippoorwill Sang

Dinner simmered on the Whisperlite.

Our hiking-tired bare feet prodded and pushed
into the soft, dry oak leaves,
the relief of shoelessness exquisite.

The forest floor held the heat of long days.
The night air hung thick and heavy, cloaking
us in late summer abundance.

Hungry and quiet we sat, feeling the forest around us,
feeling the gift of no walls,
feeling the gift of physical challenge,
welcoming full immersion in our homeland.

Had someone come along and asked,
we would have said the evening was divine,
perfect, nothing could top it.

It’s often in those moments, I know now,
when life is so loved, the Universe responds and says,
“You think that’s great? Check this out.”

The song started abruptly and without hesitation.
My hair stood on end.
My smile hitched up like a properly hung bear bag.
My eyes flashed fire.
My spirit drank up your song like a dry streambed
soaks up the first fall rains.

you don’t know me,
but on that night long ago, on that dry oak ridge,
your song found me and entered my heart
and I’ve looked for you ever since.

I went to this wild place
to hike,
to feel life thriving around me,
to hear other lives speaking their life stories.

That night, under the dark skies and a canopy of oak trees,
your song told me, wild is here. Wild is everywhere.


poem by Jennifer Kleinrichert


Jennifer Kleinrichert is a Midwest native completely enamored with this planet. She is an environmental educator and farmer of wild plants who lives in a sunny yellow house on 3.5 wild and productive Ohio acres with her husband, a menagerie of rescued pets and abundant wildlife. You can find her: and @thecommonmilkweed.