Little world

I found this post in my drafts folder. I wrote it last October or so. I’m not sure why I never posted it so I’m posting it now.

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Today, Jenn and I went for a hike on Maple Mountain. There was a forest fire there this summer so we wanted to see what the burnt area looked like before anything has had a chance to grow back. It was fascinating, and a little spooky. The burnt bark on the remaining trees was now spongy from the recent rains. Stella was unconcerned with the larger implications and ran around like an idiot, loving every minute of it. For an area so close by, it was a neat and different little outing.

And last week, Jenn and I took Stella for a night walk through the forest trails in our neighbourhood. We hike these trails virtually every day but almost never at night, and it was a completely different experience. There was no moon out that night so it was really dark. Jenn had a headlamp on and it gave the woods a Blair Witch Project vibe. Once we got back onto the road, we saw two white owls perched on the power line overhead, their unflappably (ha) stoic faces staring hard at us. We hear owls around here a lot but don’t see them often, and this was the first time either of us had seen two owls at once. It was crazy how a walk we do all the time was so different from usual.

I like this stuff. I like it when we are able to experience new things in places we are already extremely familiar with. It makes me feel like we are doing a good job of keeping our brains turned on, of looking for and appreciating the subtle changes around us. I’m proud of that.

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night sounds

jenn and i sleep with the window open, and it’s not uncommon that we hear weird sounds in the night. last night when we went to bed, we heard a strange high pitched “eeeeee” followed by some distant, echo-y hooting that didn’t sound like owls (but probably was). and we hear that kind of mysterious stuff all the time. i remember once jenn and i both woke up at 2 or 3 in the morning to hear a single, drawn out, absolutely otherworldly cry. it lasted a few seconds. i was half asleep and the first thing i thought was, “what the fuck is that?” then jenn whispered to me, “are you awake? did you hear that?” i was so glad she heard it too because no description can capture how haunting and terrifying it was. i still have no idea what that sound was. maybe a rabbit being caught and killed by a cat? i don’t know.

but it’s not just here in the country where i hear weird things at night. when i think about times i’ve slept in cities, i’ve heard strange things too. usually i can figure them out pretty quick so they’re not so freaky in that way but sometimes they’ve been no less alarming. one time in downtown duncan (not much of a city, i know, but anyway) when i was crashing at some hippie house, i was woken up by a yell or a bang, i can’t remember which now. i got up from my mattress on the living room floor (ugh, hippies) and looked out the window. i saw a 20-something year old guy running as fast as he could down the street. he either threw down or dropped something along his way. it looked like a sandwich of some kind. then coming up behind him, i saw another guy running after him. i can’t remember what this second guy said, something like “i’m gonna get you.” it was clear the first guy was being chased by the second, and running for his life. i’ve always imagined the first guy was a burglar who found a leftover subway sandwich in the fridge of the house he was robbing, but then he woke up the people living there and made a break for it with the sandwich, only to abandon it once he realized how fast the other guy was. who knows. it was kind of funny to see though.

another time i was staying in a disgusting, cockroach-infested hostel in nice, france. i awoke to the sounds of a man and woman screaming at each other, just below the hostel window. i drifted back to sleep and woke up again shortly after, this time to ceaseless banging on a door downstairs. someone would bang on the door like 20 times, wait  10 or 15 seconds, and then do it again. this went on for maybe 15 minutes. i drifted back to sleep again and awoke later to flashing blue lights coming in the window. i looked outside and there was an ambulance parked out there. a little while later, the medics came out carrying someone on a stretcher with a bunch of tubes and crap hooked up to them. my experience of all this was hazy due to being half asleep, which made it sort of scary, sort of new french extremity-ish. that was a long, strange night.

it’s funny how many weird sounds occur at night. i wonder if i just notice them more because it’s quiet out so the few sounds stand out more, or if i’m simply not accustomed to night sounds because i’m usually sleeping then, or if more spooky, weird shit really does happen at night. i bet it’s a combination of all those.