HPPR hosts & contributors
Prairie Ramblings Episode
Thu April 4, 2013
For some, spring heralds the arrival of green leaves and flowers. For others, it is a time to plant the garden in anticipation of summer’s bounty. For me, spring signals the opportunity to fall asleep each night to nature’s jam sessions and to awaken to her symphonies in the morning.
After a long winter, I eagerly look forward to the first warm days when I can throw open the windows and actually feel and smell the renewal spring promises. Those fresh breezes clear away the long harbored odors of winter. No aerosol purchased from a store can match the sweetness of prairie breezes flowing throughout the house. (Of course, that is if the breeze doesn’t blow through a feedlot first.) Lilacs and blooming fruit trees add ambience as their fragrances waft by on an invisible airstream.
But scent doesn’t have anything to do with the music of spring. It simply sets the stage for the concerts to come. As soon as temperatures allow, I crank open the windows, hoping to capture the sounds of the season. Since I live near water, I catch the songs of peepers celebrating their nightly courtship rituals. A myriad of owls and nighthawks swoop through nearby trees searching for late suppers, announcing their success with screeches and squawks--like a string section warming up.
After the early evening creatures settle down a bit, I listen for crickets to begin their recital. It astounds me to think simply rubbing of two bristly legs together makes music and clues the listener in to the temperature at the same time. As the nights heat up, I wait to hear the deep bass of bull frogs calling from the creek below and the rising hum of cicadas building to a rousing crescendo. After an evening of cacophonic music, a lowering thermometer silences the lullabies.
The best of part of sleeping with an open window in the spring is knowing that a follow-up concert begins at dawn with entirely new orchestration. Before the first rays of sunlight sneak around the edges of my curtains, birds outside my room begin warm up exercises with isolated notes. A peep hear and a squawk there tell me my fellow hilltop residents are stirring. It’s impossible to ignore the good cheer enlivening the day, so I crawl out of bed to glance out our big window to watch a private symphony of robins, finches, jays, and larks perform, backlit by the pinks and lavenders of sunrise. Unaware as they seem of their audience, they trill loudly enough to entertain us and the farmstead below. This little concert beats using an alarm clock to awaken me any day.
Life is full of simple pleasures. Discovering nature’s music is as relaxed as opening the bedroom window on the first warm evening. So pop the latch, pull up the shade, and settle back for some of the most relaxing listening around.