Ahhh…The Sounds of Nature…When Did It Get So Loud
Growing up, my family lived in a large city for the first 14 years of my life. We always had our windows open in the spring and fall. I can remember waking up to the sounds of the birds singing and going to sleep to the sound of the crickets and locusts. I used to listen for the patterns in the sounds and wonder what they meant. Were they calling for their kids to wake up for school or to come home before it got dark out like my father did by whistling for us? When we moved 30 miles away to a much smaller and rural town, I didn’t notice a change in the sounds. We still had the birds and the crickets and the occasional squirrel who was hanging out around the big walnut tree on our corner, but that was it in terms of nature.
When we lived in the south, especially Louisiana, we often were a little too close to nature for me. I remember reading through the information given to us by the military base housing office that told us to be on the lookout for snakes, which were usually poisonous, and armadillos, which could carry leprosy. I didn’t think I would have to worry about armadillos, but hmmm I was wrong. They loved the bulbs on rose bushes, so whenever we planted some, they would be pulled out of the ground by the next morning and the bulbs would be missing. When a neighbor mentioned that he had seen an armadillo tugging a rose bush down the street, we stopped planting roses. When we traveled around the state it wasn’t unusual to see signs that said “Alligator Crossing” and “Do Not Get Out of Your Car if You Break Down. “ Which really meant “Hey, you might get eaten by a gator if you get out of your car.” We even have pictures of a small river along the road and what looked like a piece of wood in the water. It was actually the eyes of the gator watching the road. Okay, message received.
In Kansas, there were hundreds of deer that lived on the military base. Going into work in the morning, the deer would actually line up at the crosswalk and the guards at the gate would stop traffic to let the deer cross. It truly was a sight to see. The base was also a stop for Canadian geese and they would cross the road by the thousands several times a day to get from one pond to the other across the street. If you were late getting to work because of the geese, you wouldn’t be written up because it was normal. There was a little red fox that would come out of the woods at the end of our street hunting for food. One day, returning home from work we discovered the fox had dined on a bunny and left the remains scattered throughout our yard. Mmm okay. He needs to eat, just wish it wasn’t in my yard.
In Maryland, we live close to the water. We have the Chesapeake Bay and at the end of our street, there is a section of a river that runs into the Bay. This is the closest that I have ever lived to water and it brings us even closer to nature. We have the usual birds such as the doves that sit on the chimney and coo for one another and the cardinals and blue jays that squawk back and forth and chase one another from one tree to the next. But one of the sights that we often see are seagulls, hawks, blue herons and both bald and golden eagles. These birds are huge, and while beautiful, they are also rather scary when they swoop down low in their search for food. And when they find it, you have to hope they won’t drop it, which was the case with the hawk that had a black snake in its claws and dropped it in the neighbor’s driveway. Yep. Right in the driveway. I watched from across the street and the snake slithered away, so the hawk missed out on dinner.
At the end of the street, where they are building new houses, I saw a wire in the road and drove around it. After I passed, I worried that someone might drive over it and it could puncture something under the car. I decided to toss it to the side of the road. I turned around and as I was driving back, I realized the wire was moving. Yep, the wire was another black snake about 5 feet long. At least it was going in opposite direction from my house. But still, too close for me.
At night, I have to keep an eye out for the frogs who somehow show up in our back yard. I don’t want our pug to think it is a food source, been there once and do not want to go there again…shudders at the memory…tries to think happy thoughts 🙂 Anyway, stepping out on the deck, the sounds of the night are almost overwhelming and just plain spooky. I’m glad I don’t know all of the animals and bugs making the sounds because I would be even more spooked, but when did things get so loud? You hear all of the crickets and locusts, but then you add in hundreds of frogs and who knows what else, and the noise level is unbelievable. It is unlike anything I have heard before. If the weather is cool and you want to sleep with your windows open, there is no way you can do so with the amount of noise you hear. And if you add in the steamy heat from the humidity and rain which often makes steam rise from the ground, it also looks like something out of a horror movie. Let’s just say I hurry the pug along on his evening potty trips and get back inside. I really don’t want to see a river monster (think 1950’s horror movies) making its way back to the water.