My wife has a terrible week-long cold with almost flu-like symptoms. With her coughing and aching, she hasn’t been sleeping well. That means the dog and I haven’t either. A couple days ago, it appears that I finally caught it. Luckily, it isn’t hitting me quite as hard, but MY coughing kept us all awake the night before last. Last night, things were calmer and we all slept pretty well, even the dog. Though I took the pooch out about two o’clock, she hadn’t yet asked me to go out by “nine in the morning.” It seemed like a good idea anyway, so I did.
A night of steady rain had finally stopped, leaving a foggy morning. It wasn’t the pea-soup variety, but I’d say visibility was limited to less than a quarter mile. It was almost eerily quiet, as the thick mist had completely deadened the roar from the distant four-lanes, something pleasant enough, but unusual anymore. There were no sounds of man any closer, either, despite it actually being 10 o’clock by the new time. It was peaceful and relatively warm, so I after the Mighty Dachshund had drained, I sat in the porch swing and made her lie on the welcome mat (rather than the cold concrete of the porch).
The first thing I noticed was the sound of rushing water in the small, normally dry hollow a hundred yards north of the house. We’re at the top of the hill here, so the ground is obviously saturated. Interestingly enough, the birds made up for the lack of human sound. A raucous group of crows kept circulating through the mist, first flying a short distance and then landing in the still-barren tree tops for a moment before moving on again. They passed over and by our home several times, and the pooch showed some interest in their antics. Most of the time, though, they were out of sight, somewhere in the mist. Once, they must have gotten too close to one’s nest, as I heard the fighting call for a moment.
The little birds were singing up a storm, seemingly as happy in the mist as they would have been in the sunshine. At one point, an Indian hen (pileated woodpecker) flew over the house and into a tree not far from the porch. It moved from tree to tree, almost silently, looking for bugs beneath the bark, until it was nearly beyond my vision. Something must have startled it there, for it soon flew out of sight, voicing the staccato call that must have been the basis for Woody Woodpecker’s laugh. Only a couple minutes later, I heard it hammering on a tree, so it was either claiming territory or had found a tree with grubs in the interior.
It finally dawned on me that not a single vehicle had passed on the county road during my half-hour sit on the porch. That’s VERY unusual! However, the sound of a couple airplanes flying above the fog finally clashed with the peaceful sounds of nature and, five minutes later, I could hear my neighbor stirring in his yard. The breeze picked up slightly and began chilling my aging bones, so I grudgingly took the pooch inside and ended our pleasant vigil. © 2016