Arkansas has only one “extreme” season: summer. Our winters are fairly mild, and very cold days are always interspersed with some warmer days. Snow is a fleeting treat. So we have only summer to contend with, really, so far as hard weather Days on end of triple-digit temperatures can drag you down, and the older I get, the harder it is for me to take the heat!
Now we have reached one of my favorite points in the year: open window season. Both summer and winter preclude this, but spring and fall each offer weeks of mild weather where the windows can be thrown open to freshen the house. My favorite part of this is sleeping with my bedroom window open, which I did last night.
I live in the country and, though I hear the occasional car way up on the main road, during the deep night what predominates are natural sounds, the sounds of the woods which surround my house. There is something comforting to me about these, and while I am awake listening to them, they are so very interesting.
Every time I think about throwing up my hands and moving into the city where so much less maintenance is required, I think of something like sleeping with the window open. Sure, you can do it in town, but the sounds are so much different. And, I believe, there are far less restful night sounds in town. No, this would be hard to give up.
Last night as I dozed toward deep sleep, I was smiling to hear the crickets. (I guess they’re crickets. They sound like crickets…) There is the occasional night bird’s chirp, and hoot owls are common.
Even the back porch, onto which my bedroom window opens, provided sounds. My cat, Sasha, meowed at the window. She is not used to the window being open, so I am sure that the sounds and smells from inside the house were powerful to her—just as the night sounds are to me. I could hear her move about, and the sounds of what I imagine was the raccoon who peacefully joins Sasha for cat food each night. We can watch him through our breakfast room window, so we are somewhat accustomed to each other.
Every so often the night sounds are punctuated by the bark of a far-off dog. My own two were stretched out on my bedroom floor, so they did not join in as they might have if they were outside.
And the real treat came just as I was falling asleep: the coyotes came through, howling. We know they are in our wood abunch, but I never hear them when the windows are shut for the air conditioner or heater. I know coyotes are much-maligned and, I’m sure, with reason; but I love to hear them.
Really, what the coyotes were doing last night wasn’t actually howling, which I have heard them do. Last night it was yipping. They sounded for all the world like a bunch of adolescents, tumbling and playing with one another. The sounds were of riotous fun. And I know I am anthropomorphizing here, but it is what it sounded like. I had an image of six or eight of them running abreast, nipping playfully at each other. They were gone within a minute’s time, so clearly they were traveling.
I associate the coyotes’ howling with winter, I’m not sure why. It seems to me that I notice the lonesome sound of the howling during the coldest part of the season, as if they are either signaling each other for the hunt or commiserating about the harshness of the night. I will have to pay attention this fall to see if this proves accurate.
As the coyotes carried on outside, Chili got up and, pricking his ears, stood at the open window. Little Scout, on the other hand, never moved a muscle. No business of hers while she’s tucked safely in my bedroom.
So this morning I awakened refreshed. With an itchy runny nose from the allergens let in through the window, but still refreshed. And sneezes or not, I’ll do it again tonight and so long as the weather allows so much do I love the night air and night sounds. C