Last night I was awakened by a sound that once I realized what it was, made me smile as I lay in the dark. I strained to hear it over the little babe's breathing next to my head. After several minutes, I wanted to see if I could hear it better so I entered the main house. Immediately the sound was drowned out by the drone of the refrigerator. I walked through the laundry room to the cat room, which is closest to the corner of the yard where I thought the noise was coming from. It was about 1 am, the sky facing town was a pale mauve color, and the world was - to use the quaint description - a winter wonderland. The temps had dropped enough so that heavy wet snow had fallen, sticking to everything in sight - fence tops, individual strands of chicken wire, pushing down the bushes and tree branches. I wished I could step outside, but I was afraid that opening the door would cause the sound to stop, plus the dogs would wake up. So I returned to bed, to the quiet room, and just listened. I wondered where exactly it was coming from, since we had to take down two peach trees and a pine this past year, leaving only a holly on that side of the house. Maybe it was farther away than it sounded or maybe I had the direction all wrong. It continued for about half an hour, the same rhythmic pattern repeated over and over with slight variations. I counted the beats on my fingers so that I would remember the rhythm; most times it was 8 beats, sometimes 6. And then it stopped. And I lay in bed wondering if it was alone, if it was listening to the rustle of mice in our shed, if it lived in the wide stretch of woods down the road, and why it had ventured amongst the houses.
I've been doing some reading lately about nature, silence, and sounds. During the day, the sounds of the suburbs are constant around here. But at night, at least last night, I heard only one passing car, my little babe's breathing, and the owl. It was a good night.
Click hear to hear the sound: Great Horned Owl