It was the first night of the year that all of the windows were left open for the night, and adjustment to all of the sounds from nature and the street were there to integrate into one's entry into sleep. The cool breeze felt welcomed through the windows, and even the toes felt like they were breathing as they stretched into the cool air. It took longer to get to sleep, with some tossing and turning while figuring out just how much cover one wanted…a sheet, no that's too cool, a blanket, no that's too hot. But no matter, for there was no reason to have to be up early. It was almost summer solstice, and the night was sweet.
But it was followed by one of those early mornings when one was NOT going to be allowed to sleep in. It started with the ring of chipmunks, relaying their barking sounds around the perimeter of the house, the loudest being right outside my window on the top of the steps to the porch. The chipmunks were then joined in by the shrilling incessant rapid-fire call of the Phoebe, "Fee-bee, fee-bee, fee-bee, fee-bee, fee-bee…."And if that weren't enough, the tufted titmice joined in the melee, with the most frantic sound I'd ever heard from them. This was by no means the heard-tell morning chorusing of songbirds… the larks and robins and cardinals and warblers. I knew that the little birds had recently fledged, and this was one of the most fragile times in their young lives, learning to escape danger. It was survival panic, and no way was I going to be allowed to sleep through it. I finally gave in, and tossed on some clothes and stepped out onto the chipmunk's guard post on the steps. Soon as I opened the door, out sprang a giant gray monster cat from its concealment in the tall grasses in the rock garden. He now beat feet across the road, and silence came upon us once again.
I placed some seeds on the bird feeder in the center of the lawn, where the birds had time to fly away from any hiding predators. Two of the chipmunks who had so recently been warning one another of the danger of the cat, were now greedily, silently competing for position as "King of the Feeder", chasing one another away. Only 5:30 a.m. and now too awake to return to sleep, I made a pot of coffee. After all, it was almost the longest day of the year, and isn't it only natural that that be accompanied with more activity?