Squirrel with a pipe at the birdfeeder


We all experiences noises specific to where we live. Everything from a squeaky floor to traffic outside. Often, they become so much a part of our regular life, we filter them out. Barely even hear them.

The heat starting and turning off. A washing machine. Look, you know the ideas. In every corner of your home, there is probably something that can generate a sound unique to your property. They are the things you donít notice that probably keep your guests awake.

The other morning, I was sitting with Terry in our living room, and without much warning we both heard a new and different sound. It had a bit of a metallic edge to it. Maybe a pipe. Perhaps a pan. But there didnít seem to be any reason for it, since there would have to be something striking it.

Moving around to gather some morning items, like juice and toast, a game began. It was as if I was playing a round of hot and cold. Heading to the fridge, sound louder, getting warmer. Open the garage door, sound softer, getting colder.

Eventually I needed something from the basement, and heading down the steps I was red hot. Bang bang bang. But the source still wasnít clear. I checked some of the possible culprits, but everything from the dehumidifier to the furnace were fine. And while literally spinning around to consider the possibilities, eventually the timing of a round of beeps and the way I was facing brought a resolution to the mystery.

It was a smoke detector.

But it didnít have one of those beeps we all usually associate with smoke detectors. As the title would suggest, it was much closer to a metal rapping of a dinner demand than a reminder to replace batteries. I suppose I shouldnít be surprised. Phones havenít sounded like phones for years.

A long time ago, I lived in a place that was somewhat in the middle of nowhere. That isnít completely true. The ice cream wouldnít have been close to melting by the time you arrived home from the store. That would be nowhere. Still, close enough.

The area ran emergency services off of one of those loud, booming fire alarms. You probably understand what that means. The horn-like ongoing siren that sounds like itís dropping down from above and hangs in the air like an electric charge for minutes after it has actually stopped.

Fortunately, we were a bit further away from the location of the siren than most in that community. We could hear it pretty clearly whenever we were outside. But if we were asleep, or watching television, we might not even notice it.

Every location has its sounds.

Terry and I were outside a few weeks ago. Twilight was still more toward daylight at the time, and we were discussing some of the sounds echoing around the brush and woods that surround our neighborhood. One of the things we both thought was funny was that neither of us could remember hearing a cricket in a really long time. As in, three residences and more than twenty years. Probably had heard one. Just had no memory of it.

Growing up, I remember hearing crickets all the time. During the summer months, weíd often see them hopping around the yard. Of course, I also seem to recall being outside a lot more in those days.

About a week after our conversation, we headed to our hometown and were visiting with family. You probably guessed that the very first night there was a cricket camped outside our bedroom window. Thing paid a visit for a few hours each evening of our stay. We actually enjoyed it. Brought more than a few smiles to our faces.

Got back home, and a day or two later, I happened to be doing some yard work late in the afternoon. Spotted a couple of crickets while walking around. That raised an eyebrow for me.

Now, we havenít been overrun by crickets. Nor have we heard any. But the sounds around here definitely have their own personality.

I know people that can sleep with car horns blaring, people yelling, and the occasional blast of a police car, fire truck or ambulance passing. I know others that treat the overnight trains echoing only marginally in the distance as a soothing lullaby. Normal absolutely is what youíre used to.

All that understood, if you are trying to get some rest, you might want to reconsider what youíre doing with the bird feeders. Or, at least donít leave anything around for the squirrels to use. That, and change the batteries on your smoke detector.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com