Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Long nights

The moon is into the last quarter now, but the moonshine is still bright enough to light up the forest for much of the night. I can see deep into the woods, though not so well right at ground level. The dogs apparently are much better at that than I am. Last night Baby Dog woke me up with her incessant barking, and it took me quite a while to figure out what all the excitement was about.

It was three deer moving slowly, noses down, foraging with each step. They were a good distance away, and I certainly wouldn’t have noticed them without Baby Dog. Something smaller—like a raccoon or an opossum—I wouldn’t have seen at all. Sometimes, rarely, I saw a great horned owl move through the trees. More often, something startles the local Canada geese and they take to the air, flying in formation even for a short distance while they stretch their wings or move away from some real or imagined predator.

I’m at the point in the year where I’m not home very much during daylight hours, so I never get to see whatever is making the bird seed disappear. I hear more birds than I see. The crows are up before sunrise, and the bluebirds are at least twittering when it’s still pretty dark. They have a roosting tree not far from the cabin, and I can follow their morning progress from it to the grass-covered ski slopes just by the sound alone.

The woods are quieting down again as the season turns toward winter. No more cacophony of a dawn chorus, less and less pre-dawn activity. Even the summer leaves are gone. I get used to the near-constant background sound of millions of leaves on hundreds of trees during the summer. All these little things, one after the other, contribute to the growing quiet.


Scott said...

What's the connection with the longhorns?

Carolyn H said...

Scott: No connection. They were just out of the woods for once and near the fence, so I took their photo. Usually, they are so deep in the woods that I can't get a photo. I think it's funny that they prefer the woods to the pasture.