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Nighttime serenade

Nighttime serenade

Posted By Sunny Lockwood

I love sleeping with the windows open. In the winter we can only open them a little and enjoy the sounds of wind and rain as we drift off.

But in the summer, we can open all the windows wide. The evening breeze can swish through as we sit on the bed, admiring the deep, rich almost-neon blue that follows sunset’s rich pink.

Sweetheart Al and I like to sit on the bed and watch the bats climb and dive just outside our window, gobbling supper of mosquitoes and other insects in the fading light.

Once the sky is black, and we’ve finished our evening’s reading, we turn off the light and let the nighttime music play us off to sleep.

The older I grow, the more luxurious sleep becomes. And our nighttime symphony adds richly to the gift of restful slumber.

I’ve written about the owls before, how they hoot back and forth, their sonorous voices like deep, reverberating chimes. Sometimes they’re right outside our window. Other times, they hoot from across the wooded gorge. But they are only part of the orchestra.

There’s the high-pitched choir of frogs from nearby ponds.

And the gentle whimpering sounds of the skunks searching through leaf-cover for food.

There are whistles and twitters. And sometimes the crunchy syncopation of larger animals chasing one another other through crispy, sun-fried underbrush.

Insects fill the background with the sassy seed-filled-shaker-type-percussion. How many insects does it take to make this jazzy all-encompassing noise? And how are they making that sound?

Last night, just as I was drifting off, a large band of coyotes began to sing. I find it amusing that the proper name for a group of coyotes is "a band," especially when (in a group) they are so musical.

Well, I couldn’t be rude and fall asleep when they were performing with such purposeful intensity. So I stayed awake as long as I could, listening to their mysterious music fill the air.

There were trillers and some that specialized in the high quavering liquid sound that always makes me think of a running stream. Now and then, there were yelps and howls. But overall, it was a beautiful symphony that rose and fell and rose again.

I could imagine them all trying to outdo one another, their noses pointed moonward, their eyes closed in ecstasy, singing their wild hearts out.

We don’t hear them every night. But when we do, the coyote’s serenade is just one more reason I love living (and sleeping) in rural California.


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