I’M ALL TOO FAMILIAR WITH restless nights, whether I’m in the throes of an over active mind—a story begging to be let out—or it’s due to my “normal” aches and pains … or due to overly warm nights, or even my falling asleep too early and the middle of the night is when I’ve fulfilled my sleep quota.
Despite all of this—or perhaps because of it—nights hold a magic all their own for me. But, only if I take the time to listen. And imagine. Normally there is some sort of activity that will catch my attention—seldom is the night completely still and quiet for long. My cat, Sebastian, is excellent at this “game” of listening. He may be snuggled in, obviously dead asleep when a noise I cannot hear awakens him with a start. He then launches himself off of me (bringing me to full consciousness—sigh) and is off to investigate, returning only after he is satisfied the thing is gone or no threat.
The sounds I hear are usually include my hoot-owl—occasionally a screech owl, an occasional confused rooster, or the footfall from my resident deer—oh (insert huge, dreamy grin … I love my deer)! And my various mocking birds that do not confine their vocalisations to daytime. Always playing a “solo”, they will wander their territory enchanting the air with their song. I’ve grown so accustomed to hearing all of these sounds that when they are absent, it’s literally deafening. Like on the last day of August. It was very strange. There were no bits of white noise from traffic (I live near a freeway, with only a hill between us), no dogs barking, cats yowling, or even roosters announcing some unseen threat. No footfall or music from my feathered friends. It was strangely silent, which pulled me even further from my sleep, leaving me wide awake to wonder why.
… And it left me to reminisce of times when there were very strange sounds haunting the night. Whether due to a vivid imagination (yeah, writers do have to deal with that …) or perhaps some late night movie leaving a lasting impression, I imagined dark and scary things were lurking. It could have been a coyote or some nasty beast of the night making strange noises—not a bark … nor a howl. It was somewhere between. I imagined a mad animal wandering about, looking for prey. I certainly didn’t want to meet up with it. Don’t get me wrong—I didn’t see it as encountering a nightmare, but it was just spooky and made me curious … and my mind took off with ideas. So that August night was like that … I anticipated some strange occurrence—perhaps an earthquake (we haven’t had many recently—we’re actually due for a good shaker). We need a really “good” shaker—one that will take the pressure off so we don’t have to deal with The Big One for a bit longer.
In any case, I’ve missed my normal night sounds … and any chance at a good nights sleep—I’ve had about a week of extraordinarily hot. Ugh. Freakishly hot of weather (no a/c)—aaah! Perhaps that was the calamity that befell us … all the animals knew to escape the heat, leaving us behind to cope. The evening temperatures have slowly dropped, and by Tuesday night we were supposed to be pretty much back to “normal”—not. The one good this is, my night sounds have begun to return to normal.
Now, with things returning to normal—even my health is finally returning, so yes … perhaps now I can get a good nights sleep. I am wishing each of you the adventure of nighttime magic, without the things that go thump in the night. Have a blessed weekend and week to come!
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