First, the birds come in to feed. They are much more tame now that I have moved their feeders to a tree from the metal spikes in the middle of the yard. Perhaps they are happy to gather together at the buffet and kibbutz about their day. The Chickadees and LBB (Little Brown Birds) are seed eaters, while the woodpeckers show a preference for the suet blocks.
It reached 82° today. Amazing after the months of bitter cold and bleak, thin light. I took every opportunity to sit outside the store. The hub-bub of humans out walking and socializing made for a gay parade.
Back home tonight, Alice is beat from a day at her job and I have turned on the fountain. It trickles gently; a back-up band for the bird calls. There are no human noises other than Pandora playing acoustic guitar wafting out through the open windows.
“Tea’s Ready!” screams a chickadee, “Peep Peep Peep Peep” the Hairy Woodpecker rattles back. A pair of Canada Geese honk by on their “end of day” retreat to the river across the valley. They sound as if they are creating their own traffic jam, busily calling out and flapping low over the house. The Raven whirls by, headed to his nest up back in the ledges. He caws, the wife answers and he is gone in the thicket of budding trees.
Mourning Doves coo gently as I walk across the front lawn to check the bees. A few dedicated workers are still returning. Their leg sacks are laden with bright yellow; the dandelions have emerged and the girls are flying farther afield in search of pollen. When I bend down and place my cheek on the warm hive, the buzz of life is a gentle, physical vibration against my skin.
Soon the songs die out and it is still and silent as the light fades. The peeper toads begin their quartet. It starts with the “Squeaky Bicycle” calls, then the “Quackers” join in with some percussion. The “Hummers” and the “Trillers” fill the void in the middle end of the scale. An orchestra of love and pursuit.
Was that the yip of young Coyote pups? Maybe I imagined it. I tip my head toward the swamp and listen. Puppies joyously call racing through the brush in hot pursuit of something. Their voices fade over the ridge below.
Much later, across the valley the bears will begin their song. The “Whoot Whoot” may sound like an owl at first but there is something more throaty and guttural about their call. They echo to one another and if their paths head this way, you will hear their “Chuff Chuff” as they grunt a greeting.
Into this world, the harsh ring of my landline phone makes me start. I grumble as I lose my train of thought (some would say it left the station years ago) and set off in search of the disruption. I glance at the number, a local exchange (we only have the “603” here in The Granite State.) I pick up and am immediately bombarded with a remote human voice wanting my political opinion. Yup, it’s election season and I’m hoping my phone service goes out as it did last Fall. Cell service is spotty here on the backside of the mountain despite a tower on the other side.
Tuning in to the rhythms of the land and its sounds is a gift no currency can buy.