I sit on the porch. It's about 9:30 at night, the air cool, with a breeze rustling the brandnew leaves, making a sound like rain falling. In the distance, I can hear dogs barking and a train pushing through. The yellow illumination of street and walk lights is just strong enough to make the scene more than black and white...Crickets are chirping, such a perpetual heartbeat sound as to be almost inaudible at the conscious level.
In front of my porch are two wide, gnarled crabapple trees that have just finished blooming. To their left are two huge fig trees, each about 12 feet tall, just leafed out, and I am waiting for them to flower, if they do so this year. I understand they delivered a bountiful crop of green figs last year, but figs in this part of the world are somewhat unpredictable. They make no promises.
The crabapple trees are each surrounded by a wide band of iris someone planted. The western edge of the iris around the tree on the right did produce some huge, beautiful white iris, because the afternoon sun reached those plants long enough. The rest are rather like...oh, mondo grass on steroids. They make ground cover, and they are pretty, but they have too much shade to ever bloom.
All is silent. Just the crickets when I tune in, which mostly, I don't. So peaceful.
I've been pouring wild birdseed on the ground beyond the trees, which in early spring, the birds enjoyed. Lately, it's the rabbits and squirrels who come. Me, putting out food for rodentia. Who would have thought?
Here they come, my two rabbits that visit every night. One is smaller--I guess a male and a female, particularly since there is some tomfoolery of leaping in the air and jumping over each other, some jockeying for position. They come, not lippety, lippety, but striding first on their forepaws, one-two, then lippety as the back legs come forward, then one-two lippety again. Small steps, leisurely. They are alert but no more afraid than is habitual in rabbits--pretty content, actually. So they come silently, literally silently to my ears, crushing no leaf, breaking no twigs, till they arrive at the grain and begin to eat. Ah, now I hear, a very faint crunching as they eat. And I wonder--do they stick out their little rabbit tongues to get the last pieces of grain in the dirt? No, they do not, leaving some of the round, white seeds in the dirt for some of the sparrows and juncos to eat the next day. They stop every few bites, freeze and listen, noticing me on the porch but not afraid since I make little movement and am at least 15 feet away. Then they lower their heads to eat again.
Suddenly, I see a cat, one of the feral cats I've heard about out here, skirting swiftly around them on the far side near the red leaf photinias. She, too, makes no sound. Chatting with the security man the next day, I learn he was passing when the cat reached the street and he noted it was orange. I am assuming "she", beause a few days later, as I exited my car on the street, I heard the eager mews of kittens in the blackberry thicket. Just what we need--more feral cats. Ah, well.
But the night is peaceful, and almost silent, and I am content and fortunate to be on my porch, sitting in the faint light, enjoying just a little bit of the natural world for awhile. After awhile, I go in, relaxed and mellow.
And life is very good.