The other night we sat in what we’re not calling the back yard but are calling the garden. This is important to her so I will try to call it a garden. We hear what we both imagine to be the long loud”screeeee” of a pteradactyl. It repeats in sets of twos and threes and to me sounds forlorn. The scree shifts but I can’t locate the source. She’s staring up at the trees with binoculars but let’s face it, she has lousy eyesight.
“Screeeeee. Screeeeee. Screeeeee.”
As a new suburban… and before continuing I must reflect on that word. Sub. Urban. Below urban? Underneath urban. Somehow less than urban, which are all true and all accurate and inaccurate as well. The night sounds like crickets and cicadas and feels like insect bites. She, it turns out, is allergic to English Ivy which causes a poison ivy-like reaction on her fine skin. We have traded away sirens and car alarms and all-night street work for these new sensations… and all night delivery of Indian food and the wondrous Central Park and its gaping tourists and hurried cyclists.
As a new suburban, these things have my attention: a dead bird on the sidewalk picked clean by bugs over the course of a few days; changing angle of shadows in the garden as summer advances and now recedes; a woodpecker, butterflies, the large number of robins and how dark the sky can get here just a half hour from the city.
There is a “screeeeee,” and I look up into the white oak and up on a high branch maybe 75 feet above see the white belly of a Red-tailed Hawk. No camera in hand, you have to take my word for it. I call to my mate, “Look straight over my head!!! It’s a hawk!!!”
The Red-tail takes off and lands in an other tree and screeeeees.
We have several large trees including a red oak and a white oak, their leaves shown below. The white is the one with the rounded lobes. Even now in late summer an occasional fat green acorn drops sometimes softly on the lawn, other times sounding like a solo drop of hail clopping off a roof or the stone walkway.
They tell us – our neighbors, our friends – that we’re doing it backwards. People raise their kids here for the schools then when the last graduates, they pull up stakes and move to the city.