But hey, we’re having an anniversary of sorts. We’ve lived in the Gold Brook Forest for a year. A whole year, listening to the whispering of the Middle River twenty-four hours a day. A relaxation tape without a machine.
But you know what? The river rules. We have little control over the river’s temperament. She can be a sleeping cat or a fighting tiger. You see, we live on a flood plain. Which means that every heavy rain or rogue hurricane that wants to dump on us can induce a flood. And with the climate changing, well, do the math. Forget the one-in- every-hundred-years storms like the one in 2010.
We’ve had two floods so far. The last one surrounded our trailer with determined, knows-where-its-going water. It gave us a few pennies of apprehension. That’s for sure. We even drove to the hardware store and bought two pairs of high, kick-ass rubber boots.
“Take that, Middle River! Make our day!”
Yeah, like they’re going to help. But we like to feel we have options. A life raft may be in our future.
We get lots of other reminders that life is not really under our control. Like last night. We heard troubling sounds in the kitchen again. On further investigation we found mouse turds in different areas of the kitchen. So we got out the traps. Three of them. Loaded them with powder and peanut butter then cocked the triggers. Spread them around. We hate doing it but we do.
At one am we heard scurrying and rattling. We got out of bed. Reluctantly. I shone my flashlight around the kitchen. Spotted the little lassie. Looked like she was swimming in our butter dish. But what a shock when we realized the little critter wasn’t a mouse. She was a bat. She flew off before we could figure out what to do.
Probably the same bat we saw walking across our living room rug the other evening while we were watching TV. Walking, not flying, over the living room rug. Creepy, but the show on television was boring. What to do? What to do, seeing both of us are nervous of bats? Could be Dracula’s great, great, great---- grand-daughter.
Well, that little critter jogged across our carpet to my running shoe and took a break on the edge of said runner. I was able to gently carry the bat and shoe outside and let her go. I brought the shoe back in.
Then, in the wee hours of the early morning, we proceeded to bat proof our trailer. We screwed a board into the wall that covered the hot water heater, sealed the vent above the stove, taped the oil furnace cover to the wall with very red and very sticky tape and then we closed all the windows for good measure.
Afterward, we sat on the couch and watched a show about the history of Tupperware. I never knew Tupperware was so friggin interesting. Life in the forest. Can you beat it?
It was our passion for and love of nature which brought us to live in the forest rather than in town or in a place a little less remote. So we get what we get. Mice in the cupboards, birds at our feeders, tons of snow, floods, the sound of moose clomping around our trailer, humming birds trying to drink from our red truck’s key hole, minks skirting our property, a young grosbeak chirping madly into our living room window while sitting on the sill, deer eating plants in our back yard, crow babies squawking for mother to stuff more whatever down their throats, coyotes howling, owls hooting, eagles watching us, bats in our butter, bats in my shoes and all those folks who think we have bats in our belfries.
Loneliness, however, is not one of the results of living in the forest. That ladybug walking across the book I was reading is full to the brim with secrets that the scientists still aren’t close to discovering. Mystery and magic are great antidotes to loneliness and without them I find life boring, predictable, petty, enervating and lonely.
Call me crazy, which you might, but I believe societies that have no connection with the wild can yield a crop of aberrant, oblivious and wired-up citizens.
With a connection to and a consciousness of nature, societies become more whole, compassionate and alive.
Nature. Always unpredictable. In this world of rising greenhouse gases, forest destruction, water pollution, wars, false witness and species extinction, nature still lets us know that she holds the power. Keeps throwing the universal curve balls, hammers the trick slap shots and this is one of the reasons why I write about my love, reverence and respect for nature.
I leave you with a picture of my new bike standing proudly in a misty early morning on the shore of beautiful Lake O’Law. I call the bike "Buddy Lee". Can you figure?