2 April 1859

by layman k

As I go down the street just after sunset, I hear many Snipe to-night. This sound is annually heard by the villagers, but always at this hour, i.e. in the twilight, — a hovering sound high in the air, — and they do not know what to refer it to. It is very easily imitated by the breath. A sort of shuddering with the breath. It reminds me of calmer nights. Hardly one in a hundred hears it, and perhaps not nearly so many know what creature makes it. Perhaps no one dreamed of snipe an hour ago, but the air seemed empty of such as they; but as soon as the dusk begins, so that a bird’s flight is concealed, you hear this peculiar spirit-suggesting sound, now far, now near, heard through and above the evening din of the village. I did not hear one when I returned up the street half an hour later.

from the journals of Henry David Thoreau