Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The sounds houses make

The toilet is gurgling in the hall bathroom and from the vent in there comes a persistent scratching. I cannot identify the source of these noises and find them disturbing. What lives under the house in the spaces behind our deck? There is a small door accessible from the outside that leads into this underworld which my landlord tells us is an excellent place for storage. And yet, I am certain something else has dibs on the area and I prefer to cede it to them.

I don't know if it's because we live in a sparsely populated area or if our house is just one of those quirky houses with habits; It breathes, and groans, and speaks in languages I cannot interpret. It makes me feel like a foreigner here. At night, I wake to a rustling outside my bedroom window, what I believe is a not disagreeable animal sound which sounds like something small - maybe the size of a breadbox. It sounds against the siding of the house as though it brushes its matted fur directly against the house and over the milky quartz and other rocks tapered in by railroad ties in the frontyard. I am comforted by its presence because it is less foggy than the sounds the registers and vents make. I know it is some animal and I suspect it is a skunk whose fertile odor woke us all up in confusion some weeks ago.

It is an odd thing to be woken up by the sense of smell. Disorienting. It takes a few minutes to realize it is neither sound nor light that has jarred us from our sleep. Instead, on the night of the skunk, it was the rich, overpowering odor, the likes of which I had never smelled so impactfully as on this night, sitting up in bed certain that something had just struck me in a tangible way that odors do not often achieve.

But the sounds. Even if I can identify the general vicinity they come from, I cannot usually determine anything else. They remain hidden from me, the gurgling, scratching, tump-tump-tumping of a new house where I am clearly the intruder, adding to the mysterious, dense cacophony. Maybe there is a badger somewhere wondering what all this keyboarding tapping is about. Maybe he waits with his eyes open, sense alert, caught in between wonder, fear, permanence.

Addendum: Scratching from vent identified - a squirrel is gnawing at our deck. Interestingly enough, this is often done by female squirrels about to give birth. They can't eat much, but they do like to gnaw. This is the second pregnant animal (see post about the robin hatching her eggs) I've encountered during my pregnancy. I like these coincidences. I think my environment senses my own pregnancy and is harmonizing with it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WOW, what a lively home you find yourself! BLynn