And then I wrote...

by Dick Schilling, "Editor Emeritus"

... that Nature and Nature’s creatures are much more active in warm weather than in cold, especially in this area which is on the migration route for many of them.

Those of us who have lived here for many years are familiar with sights and sounds of local residents and most of the temporary visitors.

But there are exceptions.

One recent night, before midnight, during one of my frequent nighttime sleep interruptions, I heard a creature making a very loud and totally unrecognizable sound. I have no idea what it was. I tried to look out the window but could see nothing, nor even very accurately divine the exact location.

I had recently watched a segment on TV about “howler” monkeys, and there was a little bit of that in the howl. But unless it was a zoo escapee, there are no monkeys in northeast Iowa.

Whatever it was was either angry or scared. A few years ago, I heard and watched a red fox run up and down the street and into the intersection, complaining all the while. But this was not a fox. Much too loud and deep.

Coyote, maybe? I have never heard coyotes except in their yodeling yelps, which are quite musical. This nighttime sound was not!

Actually, I have heard large hawks make the same sort of screech, but not with that baritone and volume.

The only bird that could come close, I suppose, would have been a pterodactyl, and they are still extinct, I think.

Anybody else hear it?

A more familiar recent sound was that of a cicada. I am not sure if they are around every summer, but they are common. I remember one summer when one attacked the electric hedge trimmer I was using, making several dives. Must have been a male defending a territory, or maybe a female impatient because of the short season they have in which to reproduce.

I knew they were not dangerous to humans, but still felt the need to move away and dodge when it flew close. I finally made connection with the cutting blade and that ended that.

TV commercial noises also are also too familiar. My new peeve is the one with a cure for psoriasis. One of those “cured” says people would stare when she appeared on stage. You have pink hair, lady! Psoriasis may be noticeable for a few feet, but that hair is worth a stare from 50 feet!

Apropos of nothing, I just realized I used two words that start with “p” but the “p” is not pronounced, psoriasis and pterodactyl. What are the odds?

Rate this article: 
No votes yet