Good or bad, neighbors can always be counted on to provide fodder for storytelling. Having spent the majority of my life as a city-dweller, I have had my share of noisy neighbors, from heavy-footed children running in the hallways, to sounds I can only attribute to the mating of wild orangutans in bedrooms above me. Peace was elusive, but stories abounded.
Then I moved to the country. Peace was abundant.
I’m sitting at my desk this morning lamenting again that I have nothing to write about when I hear a strange, wild sound from outside. I think it may be the cussing of a squirrel. Yes, they do cuss. My dog growls. My cat slowly approaches the front door, a giant puffball of trepidation. I decide to investigate.
A wild turkey is in my front yard – if you consider the entire mountain top on which I live my front yard, and I do, despite wire fence lines that would argue otherwise. It’s a female and she is calling, I presume, for a mate. But what do I know? I don’t speak turkey. I have seen her around before, but not for a couple of months and figured she’d succumbed to the appetite of a hungry coyote. Of course, I can’t swear that it’s the same turkey. They all pretty much look alike. By the time I could get my camera, she was gone, so you’ll just have to take my word for it: I was visited this morning by a wild turkey.
Three nights ago, I was visited by a doe with two new babies at her side. They were most definitely in my front yard. Damn near on my front porch. As much as I enjoyed their presence, I had to open the door and politely ask them to leave lest they decide to feast upon my young fig tree, for which I have great hopes. I purposely planted salvia all around the fig tree specifically to ward off deer after being assured by the local nursery that they don’t like its taste, but some critter has been nibbling on them and I now suspect this trio may be the exception.
As with any neighbors, peaceful coexistence is a trade-off. I try to remember that they were here first.
Except for the steady flow of water from the small fountain just outside my doorway, the silence on my hilltop feels almost impenetrable. The wings of a hummingbird buzz and retreat, as it dips to refresh itself. A horse whinnies in the distance.
And I sit here trying to think of something to write about.