Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

C: Night Sounds

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 window 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 coyotes 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 coldestcoyotehowl 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


Vee said...

Lovely post and your descriptions were vivid!

(I sleep with my window open a crack every night (often even in winter) and have not been blessed to hear coyotes or owls. I do hear crickets, birds, the long low sound of the train whistle, and after a rain, the sound of the waterfalls rushing.)

Vickie said...

Oh, how nice! Remembering sleeping with the windows open... I need to do that, too. Our nights are beginning to be just tolerable again...And we have coyotes, too! Oh that I had an attic fan like I did when I was a kid. Course, you couldn't hear the night noises, but it sure felt good to lay in bed under the window, feel the air coming in, the curtains flapping, the moon shining in, and just enough of a chill to make you pull up just your sheet! Gives me delicious shivers to think of it!
Loved this post, C!

lifeinredshoes said...

Well hello, nice to have you drop by!
I love "open window" weather, however I wear earplugs at night to block the sound of the Mr."s snoring ;O
I'll be stopping by again, nice place you here:)

Zuzana said...

Oh what a fun post! It is funny that you keep your windows shut in the summer, while this is when we keep them open here in Denmark.;)
When I lived in NC, it was such a different climate than the one I live in now. I MISS the crazy jungle sound of the summer nights there, with crickets and all kind of weird and high pitched noises.
Here all we hear are frogs late at night in summer and in autumn and winter the pounding of heavy rain and howling wind.;))
And hearing coyotes is something I yet have to experience,

gaelikaa said...

Great writing; I love your description of the night.

Suzanne said...

Yes, lovely mental images and I agree heartily about the oppressive heat of a southern summer. It takes something out of you. I love to sleep with the windows open also and the calls of the coyote are special because they remind us we're not the masters of all.

The thing that is so different down here in Arkansas (I'm visiting at this moment) is the tree frogs. They can be so loud at night. Once I told my friend there was something wrong with his car, it was making a terrible noise. It was the sound of the tree frogs! I loved this post.

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

i loved this so much..the sounds of the night...that little racoon is adorable..i miss them..we had then all the time when i lived in cambria...i think they are so cute..love how she eats with your kitty.

we live by a train station and at night i love to lay awake and listen for it as it winds its way down the mountain and into town. the long lonely whistle of a distant train.....{sigh}

happy to visit here today

kary and teddy

Sandra said...

A wonderful post, C! I miss the night sounds that we heard at the farm, similar to yours. It is definitely a trade-off when you move "to town". I enjoyed it all vicariously through your post. Thank you. :)

Jody Blue said...

Up here in extreme winter land people say the winters get harder the older they get...but they also say it when it's hot and humid. I love love the winter, a walk at -25 all bundled up and the air so crunchy is a treat. We used to live in a farm house surrounded by corn fields, we would listen to the corn grow at night and then in the fall the wind stirring the drying corn...open windows are the best way to sleep. One of our boys leaves his bedroom window open until it gets so cold out he can't stand it any longer.

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