Please note that this blog is a work of fiction.
Keep in mind that I’ve never lived in the country.
It’s been either New York or London for my adult life. Reigate, in my childhood, is a town with easy access to hills, cows, and sheep but in the UK or at least in southern England you’re never more than ten minutes away from a pub or a tea shop. (They were tea shops in my youth; they are coffee shops now.)
I’ve lived in apartments with their own strange sounds made familiar by repetition e.g. sirens at all hours, drunken brawls happening just below in the road, and cats howling and screeching. Cats screaming all night are either fighting or having sex. I don’t know how you tell the difference and I don’t want to go to the trouble to find out.
But here in the farmhouse, half a mile away from the next farmhouse, and along a road that gets a fair bit of traffic. I mean, I’m not completely isolated. It’s not like living in South Dakota (or what I imagine South Dakota to be like). But the nights should be quiet. At night, there’s little traffic and the nearest neighbors (the Van Family…I’ll talk about them in a future entry) are calm enough.
When I first moved here I heard the most amazing noise that turned out to be a loon. There is something deeply primeval about that sound and if you’ve never heard it before and you’re hearing it for the first time when sleeping alone in a house in the middle of nowhere after having just changed your life completely you won’t forget it soon. This is what it sounds like.
To me it is both a completely alien sound but also weirdly familiar. And yes, I know that doesn’t make sense but stay with me. I never heard that sound before I moved here and it woke me up and scared the daylights out of me. But I think the really scary part is that it speaks to something I already know. It could be a sound from me.
Sorry, can’t explain it better than that. There are also owls in the night and deer rustling around the edges of the woods. There are scratchings in the walls—this house is not the most solid of edifices. A bit Swiss Cheese really…and all in all the nighttime feels noisier than Manhattan did!
But I also wanted to say something about eagles. There are a lot of them. They are enormous and they fly majestically. They really do soar and they look powerful. Did you know that a group of eagles can be called an aerie, convocation, jubilee, kettle, soar, or tower? Neither did I. I’m going with jubilee.