Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Not-So-Still Of The Night

It was 3:30 am when I took the pooch out. Along with her leash, I had my large DeWalt rechargeable flashlight and my great grandfather’s hickory livestock cane in my hand. The light is a constant now that it’s warm enough for snakes, the cane has been a sometimes thing recently, since I’m having trouble with either a stone bruise or a heel spur. This time, I take the cane more as a weapon; its strength and the pipe-collar extension on the tip make it a force to be reckoned with.

Once the Mighty Dachshund takes a prolonged drain, I keep pressure on the leash, to assist her with her jump back up on the porch. Then, I do something usually reserved for daylight hours; I lead her over to the porch swing and have a seat. She is a touch slower than normal taking her place at my feet, I guess because this is something new to her. In a few seconds though, she’s in her usual spot, and at her usual angle, so she can watch both the side yard and the road that goes by the front of our place, 200 feet in the distance.

There’s a bright moon above and our security light out by the road sheds some light on the porch and the lawn, even from that distance. Since the two light sources are from nearly opposite directions, the trees and grass before us are lit up fairly well. I can even enjoy the beauty of the wild dogwood blossoms at the edge of the woods, thirty feet away. The pooch lies there, sniffing, looking and listening.

She turns her head nearly over her shoulder when two or more coyotes raise a chorus on a distant ridge. There seems to be some awareness with her that the sound would be dangerous, were it closer. Sometimes, on warm nights when the windows are open, we can hear the screaming of little animals (probably rabbits) being carried to their deaths. I stroke her velvety side with the cane tip, reminding her that “the big dog” is here to protect her. The fact seems to put her at ease. The chorus soon ends and no more is heard from the furry choir.

A whip-poor-will chants far away in the hollow. Eventually, he moves far enough away that all you can hear of his song is the first note. A mocking bird sings a couple ditties out near the security light, but soon fades back into restful silence. Some day-bird braves a note or two down in the words, as if to say that she’s still there, but waiting for brighter hours.

I hear a couple bugs droning, I think, but it’s hard to tell with the light ringing in my ears that I’ve always had. In the distance I hear the engine of a semi on the distant east-west highway, and the whine of the tires on the north-south road that intersects it. Neither day nor night has been silent since the first four-lane went through, when I was about 10. Still, it’s an almost quiet night. Soon, a car approaches on our little country road and, eventually, goes by our home. It’s moving at a reasonable pace as it passes, so it’s probably not a young person. It hums off into the distance and relative quiet returns.

Normally, the pooch arises and walks the short distance to the door when she’s had her fill of porch-sitting and wishes to rejoin her mistress. Tonight, she seems content to stay a while longer, even when I specifically ask if she wants to go inside. I give her another five minutes and then arise and turn to the door myself. She remains rooted on the porch until I tell her to come. I hate to make her go in, but I need to go back to bed. Of course, I’ll have to type this up and post it first. © 2015


Chickenmom said...

Nighttime is not quiet time. The coyotes yip and the racoons chatter as they scurry about. And if, we are lucky, the owl pays a visit. And of course, there is Charlie - his favorite time to wake up and stare crowing is between three and four....

Vicki said...

There's something almost magical about the sounds of the night. Even here in the city where that is the only time that is even close to being quiet. The delivery trucks are gone. So are the kids on skateboards. The sparrows in the tree outside my window seem to be whispering in their sleep. I love the middle of the night here.

Gorges Smythe said...

Believe it or not, I've heard possums howl, too, Cm, if that's the right word. As for roosters, there's one to the north of us and one to the south of us. Luckily, neither are close.

I know what you mean, Vicki. I lived in town four years as a young man, and sometimes took middle-of-the-night walks up the back streets and alleys when I couldn't sleep. Luckily, I was never stopped by a cop, and they never knew that I was packing a pistol.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Sometimes when we have our windows open I wake up in the middle of the night to coyotes howling or hear the trains in the distance. Sometimes it's the sound of a car racing along the county road a couple of miles away and I wonder why they need to be driving so fast on curvy roads that late at night. The best is when the frogs sing, I love that. Glad you had a few minutes to sit with the dog and listen to the night.

Gorges Smythe said...

It's a different world; isn't it, Kathy?