Three o’clock must be the bewitching hour because that is when those heart stopping noises wake me. We are talking ‘AM” here. And it is barely past that now, as I sit here groggily pecking away at the keyboard. 

And NO, I don’t live in New York – although I used to, and the sounds are different there. Sure, they have their screams, their sirens, their loud-mouth street work crews and their late-night party revelers. But Manhattan’s sounds are so constant that New Yorkers learn to shut them out and sleep through any ear-destroying catastrophe.

These current disturbing sounds, which wake me night after night, all emanate from animals. Real ones – not the partying kind. They lust, mate, scream, beat their chest, scurry, forage, fight, slither, and God knows what else, outside my office window. It might not be so bad if the office was not attached to my bedroom and the window is left open at night. But everything has a reason. I need quick access to the computer in case a brainwave for a new book or a bog post should suddenly arouse me. (If you follow my blogs, you know that hasn’t occurred lately.) And as for the open window, well I live on a mountaintop overlooking the Pacific ocean and I love the fresh air.

Right this minute the noise has stopped. That is unusual as usually the wild and varied sounds continue until almost dawn when the Kookaburras awake and scream laughing at them. That usually shuts them up. 

By now I suppose you’re thinking I live in a really noisy place but that isn’t really so. It is actually deathly quiet. There is rarely any traffic at night and in Australia, planes are not allowed to fly overhead while the populace is asleep. Besides, I and my neighbors all have at least an acre of land surrounding our homes on this short street. And that acre of land is my problem. You see, I have an envirocycle. Envirocycles are a wonderful invention and possibly unknown to you city-folk. Being semi-rural out here, we inhabitants must think a lot about water. We don’t turn on the tap and out comes dam water – the way you city folk do. No sireee! We must catch our water in big tanks whenever it rains. And considering it can go for months without rain around here, we treat that water like liquid gold. Indeed, in dry seasons, we restrict our showers to three minutes by putting an egg timer on the shower wall before lathering up. Some of us can lather and rinse faster than Lance Armstrong on steroids. But I digress – and digress – we were talking about envirocycles. Those wonderful inventions save our grey (waste) water, treat it until they say you could drink it (I won’t try) and then dispel it to irrigate our gardens.

I planted a tropical garden ten years ago when I first came here. Due to the daily waterings from the envirocycle, it has grown and grown, almost blotting out the sky at the back side of the house. This may not be the story of Jack And The Beanstalk but it is definitely June and The Banana Tree. So you see, this dense rain forest is the cause of the noise. The animals all love it. Add to that, I put ponds everywhere which also attract thirsty animals and you have got it.

Besides several families of cheeky possums, we have constant wild turkeys, frequent wallabies, a resident six foot goanna (which frightens the hell out of my American friends who all mistake it for a crocodile) and more recently, several koalas. The koalas are unfortunately diminishing in numbers throughout Australia (due to the burgeoning population of migrants) so we are privileged to have these beautiful creatures on our property. They are nocturnal animals and it has recently been mating season and BOY, how they can mate. The females scream and squeal continually and the males grunt, growl and moan. The noises are so loud that they carry for miles and it certainly sounds vicious. The first time I heard it I thought I was deep in Africa. When I gathered my senses and knew where I was, I thought it was wild pigs. It’s hard to believe that such delightful and harmless little things could roar like that.

It wasn’t Koalas that woke me this time. Whatever it was, it sounded more like someone sawing with a blunt blade through a piece of rusty tin. I wonder what it was? But no time to sit and wonder any more. The Kookaburras have started their pre-dawn racket; laughing uproariously at my attempt to write this post, I suppose. The sky is showing the first traces of light – so until next time, CHEERS!


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Marna Cillins
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 21:27:07

    Thanks for the post….feel like I was there with you that early morning. By the way, I am a Collins by marriage and my husband is a Collins by adoption such a round about way for all of us.


  2. Darlene Craviotto
    Oct 09, 2013 @ 06:35:33

    Thanks so much for writing this. It was truly delightful! Sorry you didn’t get much sleep though.


  3. Susan Joyce
    Oct 13, 2013 @ 12:00:50

    Dear June,
    A fun read, reminding me of the levels of sounds in cities versus the big outdoors. Yes, NYC is a constant and thereby not jarring. Envirocycles are a wonderful invention and you are blessed to have created such a vibrant one on top of your mountain. I’d say, “that’s as good as it gets.”
    Susan Joyce


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