I stepped outside my door, mug of coffee in hand, and thought: “Never
disturb a bird when he’s singing, for you’ll interrupt his prayers . .
.” (Where did I learn that? From Kamana, I think.) Good morning,
chickadees . . . red-winged blackbirds . . . song sparrows . . .
robins. And more I can’t identify. Good morning, daffs. Good
morning, lilac buds-a-blooming. Good morning, wind in the cedars.
Good morning, distant waves. Good morning, island. Blessed be.
“What the heck is that?” Craig asked me as he read the Sunday paper.
“I’ve been hearing it off and on for days.” It was a metallic rumble
that sounded like the shifting of damaged gears or drumsticks on a
Was it our neighbor Joe, trying out some new kind of exotic percussion
instrument? Was it the neighborhood kids making a gleeful ruckus of
some kind? Was it the well pump gasping out a death rattle? Or —
worse — the septic pump? It kept going for 20 seconds or so, then
stopped. A few heartbeats of silence, then it started up again. Then
quiet. Then the drumming, and silence once more. Was it coming from
the garage? We stood on the front porch and waited. There it was
again! Rat-a-tat-tat-tat! This time we could tell it was coming from
above us — the metal top of the fireplace chimney. And it sounded all
the world like a woodpecker tapping away. On the metal chimneytop.
Does he think our chimney is a dead tree?
Now we haven’t seen this woodpecker yet. It could be a northern
flicker, or a pileated woodpecker, or a downy or a hairy. But we sure
are wondering what it’s up to.
After dusk the slough was filled with the sound of Pacific chorus
frogs, singing their hearts out. They’re males calling to attract
mates, puffing up their throat pouches, crooning a seductive serenade.
“Come away, my love,” they sing . . . “I am the most beautiful frog in
the wetland . . . see my gleaming emerald coat? It’s all for you, my
dear . . .” Sweet green liquid seduction, this evening symphony.
I was getting ready to take my book upstairs and settle into bed when
Craig called me to come outside and listen to a hooting owl. I padded
outside in my slippered feet. “No, it’s a pair,” I whispered. One to
the west, one to the south, calling to each other. Great Horned Ones, I
think. They sounded just like this.
Craig and I smiled at each other in delight. We listened for awhile, to the hooting and the hush.
Good night, good night, good night.