Our house is near the southern end of the village. Looking out from our decks and from the windows of my study, I can see that the land just south of here is heavily wooded and hilly, but not so steep and mountainous as where we live. There are a few pastures in the distance and I can see outbuildings of what I assume are farms beyond the borders of the village. Early in the morning, the valleys between the rises and ridges are washed in light fog that burns off quickly not long after the sun heats the air.
Out of the blue-grey haze each morning, the sound of the birds in the trees surrounding our house begins early. The loud, shrill whistles of cardinals begin first, followed by the chatter of blue jays and the songs of a host of other birds, large and small. The sounds build into a frenzied rush of noise, growing louder and louder within just a few minutes.
The wild birds’ songs begin the chorus, but the clicking of squirrels in the surrounding trees and the crowing of roosters and the lowing of cattle in the farms below soon add to the cacophony. The cattle and the roosters are in the valley below us and are a considerable distance away, a mile or more I think, but their sounds are clear and strong.
This mish-mash of sounds, some piercingly loud, would in another setting be unsettling. The sounds would be chaotic and stress-inducing. But here, at least in the early light of dawn, they give me an odd sense of serenity.
Just a little later, the muffled voices of the people next door, out on their deck to enjoy the same peace I’m enjoying, interrupt my solitude. I cannot see them through the dense leaves on the trees between us, but I hear them. And for a moment I realize why I’ve always dreamed of living in relative isolation on a farm. The sound of human voices can erase, in an instant, the serenity that nature visits upon me. Not always, of course, but in the early morning, I prefer my own company and I like hearing the sounds of creatures utterly unlike me.