I like to sleep with the windows open. Oh sure, it's hot when I go to bed, customarily between 11:30 and midnight. But I turn on the ceiling fan above the bed and it stirs the warm, sticky air just enough for me to drift off to sleep.
I listen to the night sounds from the woods that surround the house: katydids dominate the sonic landscape in the nocturnal summer heat. The higher the temperature, the louder they sing.
It's been very hot this June, so they're already pretty loud. By August, they'll be deafening.
Some sounds that emanate from our woods are a regular nightly occurrence. It seems to me that animals have their own little routines that they faithfully follow.
Around 10:30, I hear the rattle, rattle, thump of the raccoon family that climbs the chain link fence out back. They're headed toward the front door to check out any scraps that may have been left by the cat.
Between 11:00 and 11:30, I hear the gentle, faintly audible pad of deer, quietly moving about twelve feet away from the window. Their gait is interruped by long pauses, as they stand like statues, listen and silently chew tender greens. Eventually, they'll make it around to the side of the house where they'll browse my husband's vegetable garden.
We've given up on cucumbers, blueberries and tomatoes. At this point, we are growing vegetables and berries not for ourselves, but rather for numerous fat, sleek deer. Of course, our freezer is always well stocked with venison, so I guess it evens out.
I usually wake up around 4 a.m. I don't get out of bed. I just lie there and doze, think, meditate, or sometimes, like this morning, sit up in bed and nibble a couple of ginger snaps. I keep a bag of ginger snaps on my night table.
This morning, as I nibbled my cookies, I noticed that the katydids were diminished but still going strong. I lay down again and pulled a summer weight blanket under my chin. By the wee hours, the outside temperature has dropped to a comfortable mid sixties.
I closed my eyes and drifted, waiting for the roosters in the valley below to welcome the first suggestion of morning light. Their crowing will shortly be followed by the noisy little bird who sleeps in the tangle of wild grape vines about five feet away from the north window. He's a little fellow with a great big voice. He never fails to wake up with a song his heart.
As the sun rises higher, so does the music in the landscape. Birdsong fills the woods. Cows moo enthusiastically in the valley, greeting the farmer, who noisily scrapes their feed from buckets with a metallic ring. A few moments later, a donkey brays impatiently: "Feed me, Feed me. Hurry up!"
As the sun rises, the woodpeckers begin their search for breakfast and the trunks of oaks, poplars and linden trees become huge, vibrating drums. Finally, as I get out of bed to go hunt up my first cup of coffee, I hear the high pitched electronic beep of a truck backing up.
And so another day begins on the ridge.
Happy Monday from the north side of the ridge. I hope you have a good, productive and happy week.
Be well and good luck.
copyright 2012, Martha Maria