My family and I moved out to the country three years ago. There were lots of reasons that my wife and I wanted to get away from downtown city-life: More room for our children to play, more subjects for my photography, closer to mountains and a little something called, "Peace and Quiet." I am very happy to report that all of these objectives have been realized with one exception: The Quiet. And, just in case anyone who knows where I live is wondering, it is not just because we are about a mile downwind from the local racetrack.
Springtime in the country has to be one of the loudest, initially most unexpected phenomena that I've ever encountered. The first night in our home, we sat in bed and listened to what sounded like Wallstreet for wildlife. Bleeps, screams, echoes, plops, plucks, tremors; you name it, we had it all. And then the Fowler's toads started and it was as if we had been immersed in a scene from 1970s horror-flick (quick pans and running trips not-withheld) . Oh and did I mention the chuck-wills-widow? This bird is like a whip-poor-will on steroids. Get two of them going at once and you really do have something special!
When that first autumn finally arrived, and the last katydid had silenced its mesmerizing tune, the world did go quiet for a bit, and I found it to be too much. So much so, in fact, that these days we all bend our ears for the first spring peepers and check each night for the familiar 'Chuck-Wills-Widow, Chuck-Wills-Widow,' which seems to at first arrive very small and far away; growing a little closer over the following nights. This past week the bird finally materialized and this time, it brought a competitor who can match 'our' little nightjar, note-for-note. We sure are glad. As it turns out, 'the quiet' is very overrated.