Published by
Hydrogen Jukebox Press


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      An Online Edition

     edited and annotated, with an introduction by Dr. Luke A. Powers

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Monday, April 27, 1914

[Tufted Titmouse]





      The Fireman is always glad to have visitors from the suburbs and the country. There is a pair of chir[p]y little wrens who come oftenest. They are less disagreeably bumptious and quarrelsome than the street Sparrows, but quite as talkative, keeping a sunshiny warble for every hour of the day. They are always on friendly terms with country folk, and show entire familiarity with the details and daily life of cabin homes. You cannot run to a neighbor's to borrow a waist pattern but they know whether you first straightened up your kitchen: they know every knothole and wasp nest in the barn loft, and when the dominecker is due to hatch, and how thoroughly you beat your rugs. Sometimes they nearly split their throats in the endeavor to start a conversation with you; but not a word of it all every gets "action" to any one but the Iron Fireman.

     He hears the news, you may depend, whenever the wrens make their way over the crisscrossed streets and car tracks to his hospitable fountain; and if any of his wise words could come back to you by the same aerial messengers you would receive a deal of valuable counsel. The Fireman feels, however, that the world of men is a trifling affair, easily forgotten when one is enjoying the society of birds, or absorbed in following the faint, far ways of the stars.

     Another frequent visitor to the fountain is the Tufte[d] Titmouse--not the blackcapped Chickadee of the snowy northern woods, the titmouse of Emerson's poem, but his friend and cousin who lives in the vine-draped woods of the middle and southern states and is much the same talkative, cheery little fellow. In winter when few birds remain with us, he and the Carolina Wren and the Cardinal are to be he[a]rd in the field or the orchard on every sunny day, and it is the part of wisdom as well as of hospitality to throw them an occasional handful of scraps out of reach of the cat.

     The Titmouse is by no means bound to the usual song phrase of "Peter, Peter, Peter." For his nature is stirred by the play of varying emotions, which find expression in delicate modulations and inflections of his call. One of these is a perpetual New Year greeting--"Happy-happy-happy New Year, New Year!" Its message is understood by the Fireman to run about as follows:

     "Why wait for the special occasion to call forth your resolution? If the capacity for purposeful and earnest effort is latent in you, put it to use now! Many a man is plodding along in a rut, without hope, without relief in himself, never suspecting the vast unexplored reservoirs of power within until some emergency discovers him to himself.

     "That sense of a fresh beginning, of being freshly charged with energy from eternal reservoirs, is like manna of the Israelites, new every morning. This day can be made a day of days if you will, a special occasion demanding all that is in you of sterling quality, if only you will plan it with judgment, fill it with industry, and inspire it with hope.

     "A succession of such days will carry you clear out of the rut into a freer, higher air.

     "A new year begins every day, you know!"


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