Just as I was sitting down to write a new column, I heard the sound of a grey squirrel crunching on peanuts.
Right outside my office window is an olive tree onto which I have fastened a small wood platform to feed the local squirrels. I buy five-pound bags of unsalted peanuts from Costco and keep a bag just inside my door. Several times a day I place a handful of nuts in the olive tree and get to enjoy the company of the bushytails that stop by for a free meal.
Sometimes I have as many as four squirrels frolicking outside my window. It’s a great stress reliever to hear the sounds of the wild.
Of course, squirrels aren’t the only critters to provide us with sound effects. Often times on a spring evening I can hear the chorus of coyotes singing their eternal song. It’s great to fall asleep to the sound of a coyote family serenading me.
While the squirrels are largely daytime critters, many of God’s creatures are active at night, and if you close your eyes you can hear them out there. Over many years I have camped in the High Sierra and would go down to a spot on the Mokelumne River that we called “The Beaver Beach.”
If you walked quietly down into the willows near the beaver dam, you could sit on the bank and listen to the beavers as they chewed on aspens, pines, and willows to get the branches they needed to make and maintain their dams.
It’s a magical experience just sitting in the dark along a moonlit creek and being entertained by the beavers.
Of course, the sound of an agitated rattler will send chills up your spine. Even if you’ve never heard it before, some primal memory deep inside you tells you exactly what that buzzing sound is. If you don’t pay attention, it could be the sound of impending death.
Immediately, your heart begins to pound and all your senses go on high alert. Your first instinct is to freeze and be absolutely still until you can focus your senses and pinpoint exactly where the danger is. Then, you can hopefully back slowly out of danger.
Because I spend a lot of time in the wild, I have been fortunate enough to hear the cry of a bald eagle as he circles overhead looking for dinner. Even rarer is the scream of a mountain lion looking for a mate. I guarantee that will make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. On the other side of the equation, I love the cooing of doves during nesting season or the clucking of a mama quail calling in her chicks.
If you pay attention, there is a virtual symphony out there for you to enjoy, its called The Sound of the Wild. If you haven’t tried it lately, get out there and enjoy the symphony that Mother Nature provides for you.
Until Next Week,