Crash! Bang! Rattle! Rattle!

Sitting bolt upright, I almost bang my head on the upper bunk. The door and windows are making an unbelievable noise. My first startled thought is that a bear is trying to get into the cabin and the bear spray is over by the door. I try to calm my racing heart enough to listen for other clues. Then it comes—the rustling sound of the willows across the way and then the aspens a little closer. I can breathe again. The culprit is just my constant companion since I’ve been here—the wind. Most of the time, he has snuck around on padded feet gently moving the grass or rustling the aspen.

Tonight he is on a mission, cleaning house it seems. At one point the walls of the cabin shake, and the bed seems to rock. How do I know this? I am still awake and pressed against the wall listening to his fury. Could it be that my imagination is running wild? Maybe a little.

With the dawn comes a calm to the valley. The quiet seems almost unnatural compared to the “quiet” I have become used to. There have been no moose or elk this morning. It’s as if the wind has blown the valley clean. When I hear water running, I’m sure the wind has caused a problem with the water tank. After checking inside and out the outhouse, looking all around the water tank and not finding any running water, I am baffled.

Heading back to the cabin, I hear the familiar caw-caw of a raven. Then I hear the sound of running water again, more like a gurgling brook this time. And finally it hits me. Raven is having fun at my expense. For the next 20 minuets I watch and listen as he runs through a repertoire of caws, kees, gurglings, and whispering whistles.

A friend is coming up to hike with me today, and I meet her at the parking lot. We hike the loop around to the Bluebird Mine and back down to the barn. Along the way we run into Sarah and Allison, Open Space park rangers. We trade bear stories—Sarah had a bear empty a truck of camping equipment during the night and I mistook the wind for a bear.

Arriving at the barn, my friend and I find a note that I have missed another visitor and her donkey, Jack. Later in the afternoon, I take my coffee over to the fence and chat with a group of hikers. I answer questions about the Artist-in-Residence program and tell about my wildlife encounters. The older man in the group comments, “You must be happy and content.”

I think about it briefly and reply, “Yes, I am.”

“I could tell,” he says. “You seem to be glowing.” And he is correct—I haven’t been this content in a long time.

Evening creeps into the valley while I sit and knit outside the barn. Peter comes out for his evening meal. The wind has died down again and the only sound is Peter’s munching on grass and the gentle click of my bamboo knitting needles.

Having started with a bang, the day ends on a quiet note.