Sometimes when I am lying in my bed with the sounds of the city keeping me awake, I can’t help thinking how different the sounds are than those of the country home my wife and I left a few months ago.
The bass drumming coming from a radio turned up too loud, the revving of a car engine, the roar of a motorcycle, the siren of a police car or ambulance just a block away. I am not complaining about these noises that I know are normal in cities, and anyway it is the absence of sounds I was used to in the country that keeps me awake.
In the summer months with our windows open and a soft breeze blowing into our bedroom, the night sounds were a lullaby that would softly sing us to sleep. I loved the sound of an old bullfrog that I could picture with its throat expanded as he called to a female in the pond that sat in the field next to our house. Sometimes the farmer who owned the field kept a few cows that found the best grass grew along the fence next to our bedroom. The sound of the cows’ movements along our fence and their steady munching of grass was another rhythmic sound that would soon put me to sleep.
In the winter months, the yip yip of coyotes crossing the field and the hooting of an occasional owl could be heard. I won’t say I cared for the coyotes, but the owls were reason enough for my wife to insist on an open window during the cold months while I shivered, and fought for more blankets.
I guess my wife and I will always miss the country, and we still drive through it once in a while to see the turning leaves of the season, to smell the clean air, and, if we are lucky, the unique aroma of fresh mown hay. We also are happy if we see a deer cross the road or maybe a groundhog peek its head out of a ditch. As for rabbits and squirrels, at least we don’t need to leave town for them; they are in abundance here in Sedalia.
As I sat at Walmart one day, I wrote the poem below and I believe it will express my feelings better.
Since I moved away
Do Whippoorwills still call their mates
from fields I used to mow
Do owls still sit high in trees
and ask us who we know
Do summer rains still smell the same
Mixed with the fresh cut hay
The way they did when I was there
Before I moved away
Do sounds of frogs still fill the night
Do crickets have their say
I find I now miss all those things
Since I moved away