I awoke today at first-light. For a while I lingered in bed, enjoying the cool air coming through the screen and listening to the regular staccato drumming of a downy woodpecker. The sound seemed to be coming from the island just across from the cottage.
The local woodpeckers have been doing a lot of such drumming lately. More than usual for this time of year—almost as if it were still early spring and the quick hammered bursts were intended to establish territories and advertise for a mate. Why? I have no idea. And maybe it's only my imagination or perhaps a faulty memory that makes me think the drumming this time around is more frequent than normal. But if I'm correct, then I don't know what to make of such atypical behavior—if anything.
Paying attention to the natural world is a lot like digging a hole—the deeper you go, the more you uncover. You expand the volume of your ignorance exponentially. There's always more and more to learn.
One thing I do know on this first day of July…we were very fortunate when we came home following Friday evening's violent storms and found our power out, that first of all, we didn't also find a half-dozen trees down in the yard—or worse!—and second and most important, that our power was restored during the night. Very, very fortunate, indeed.
On this second day after the storm, with temperatures across the nation expected to hit record highs—in many places well over 100˚F every day for at least the next week—literally millions of folks, nearly 200,000 in my county alone, are still without power—and may so be for days yet to come. No fans, no air conditioners, no cell phones or land lines, or T.V. or radio other than battery-powered, so no way to hear news and service updates, no way to cook, no way to keep food from spoiling in refrigerators and freezers unless you can manage to find and afford to buy multiple bags of ice, no illumination in their homes after dark except flashlights and lanterns—no way to do so many things we take for granted in the course of modern life. Old folks, those who are sick or infirm, people who need to dress up and go to work…there's going to be many who'll suffer, and considerably more who will be seriously inconvenienced.
I may not know why the woodpecker drums, but I know we've been mightily blessed because we're unharmed, as are all our friends and family, we still have a roof over our heads, plenty of food, and electricity to power our fans so we can stay comfortably cool as the heat index climbs. I only wish everyone who's hurting today were also instead in similar shape.