I like nature. Walking on a nature trail or sitting on the beach watching the waves is relaxing and helps to reduce the stress of my everyday life. Taking a few minutes to sit and stare helps to keep me healthy and costs absolutely nothing. I like starting my day to the sound of a few different birdies chirping at dawn, but I don’t like being awakened by them during the night.
In preparation for retirement, a milestone that probably will never be possible, my husband and I moved our empty nest to a new location closer to nature. We are far away from the hustle and bustle of the community swimming pool and football field that were right out our front door for well over 20 years. At times, it is so quiet in our non-retirement home that I can hear the buzzing in my ears caused by one too many 8-tracks blaring in my friend’s Spitfire.
One night, just after turning off the late news, the silence that I usually enjoyed was suddenly interrupted. Out in the darkness I heard a ‘who cooks for you, who cooks for you’ sound coming from up on the rooftop. I heard it a few times and thought to myself, “Ah, a new nature sound. Isn’t that special.” The call kept coming and at one point, I wanted to yell back, “No one cooks for me, no one cooks for me-but if you’re interested in a job we can probably work something out.”
Curious about the new call of nature, I decided to go on an expedition-an online one-to identify who suddenly was so interested in my cooking arrangements. After comparing the call with a few online recordings, I discovered that a Barred Owl, a creature who likes to eat things that should be controlled through owl eating, was my new connection to nature. It was kinda cool to think about this majestic bird perched atop the roof peak scanning for critters to control while he protected our area. When the hooting finally stopped, I tucked myself in and fell asleep.
About midway through the night, well before it was time for the sound of a few birdies chirping, I was awakened by the prancing and pawing of each little hoof, or in this case-claw. It seemed the owl was back and had brought along a few things to control. A soft grinding sound led to a louder grinding sound, and eventually, a full on grind and not the grind you read about in Urban Dictionary. “What is that thing doing up there?” I asked my husband, who never heard a thing. “Is it setting up a full kitchen and getting ready to cook for me? Can’t this wait until morning? You haven’t even been officially hired yet.” But it kept going and going and going; just like the Energizer Bunny-only it wasn’t using cymbals. Whatever was going on up there eventually ended and I started to drift off to sleep, but nature had other plans. Part two was about to start and it was even rougher than part one. The yacking and hacking and cracking-oh my! “Isn’t that some type of eating disorder” I wondered. “Can’t you just leave it down there until morning? I need to get some sleep and your dining habits are messing me up, and besides, this cooking arrangement is not going to work out so go away.”
The next night in the not-my-retirement village there was a new sound near the end of the late news, but it didn’t come from nature. It came from a cranky 50+ year old woman banging two-no, not that kind of banging and certainly not two-aluminum pie pans together while reaching out the back door. I decided I didn’t need to be quite that close to nature.