Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Soundtrack of Home - Susie


Chickadee

The view from the windows in my house at Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage looks like a painting: a green and gold field rolls into the treeline, beyond which is a newly mowed hayfield, neatly hemmed in by evergreens threaded with birch. It's a wildly different view than what I saw from our apartment in town: a harbor full of boats and the waters of Penobscot Bay beyond.

What's most remarkable for me is not the change in my view, however, but the change in the soundtrack. From my old bedroom, the background noise was of waves washing the beach, halyards slapping against the aluminum masts of sailboats, the occasional rumble of a truck making its way north on Route One contrasted against the distinctive cry of loons.

Since moving into our new house on the ecovillage land, I awake to a wondrous dawn chorus: bobolinks, savannah sparrows, finches, swallows, and a dozen other kinds of birds which I'm only beginning to recognize. When it's quiet, you can hear the strange low ploop-ploop-ploop call of the bittern, a relative of the heron. We were convinced it was a frog for a while, until our resident naturalist Mike Shannon let us know what it was. He also informed us that the regular chirping call that came from the woods right before a rainstorm wasn't a bird at all, but a tree frog.

At night, the sound of clinking masts and calling loons has been replaced by the wind shushing through the hayfields, the calls of owls, and at least twice now, the exhilarating howls and yips of coyotes. There is part of me that misses living near the water and finds the absence of my usual soundtrack unsettling, but I am quickly adjusting to the sounds of the fields and woods, and I am eager to learn from my neighbors all of nature's musicians that play together on my new soundtrack.

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