Let me tell you the story of a girl who wanted to go camping. She set up her tent in the backyard and filled it with blankets and pillows.
The backyard? How tame is that? Her husband laughed at her and said “Have at it. I am sleeping in the bed and not on the hard ground”.
She persevered and as night came cuddled up in the blankets with a good book. The cats even gave her hell. They stared at her through the back door wondering what kind of crazy this was.
Darkness came and it cooled down even more. The birds and other critters chirped and rustled into their beds too. The world got quiet except the breeze and the wind chime. The stars came out despite the city lights. Then sleep came upon her.
It got colder but all was snug in the tent sleeping away in the great outdoors. An odd metal sound woke the tent girl. It came from the neighbor’s yard over the fence or so it seemed. Then a snuffling and munching sound came from the garden that was near by.
That got the girl’s attention and sleepiness vanished. Would you open the tent door or just hang tight? How big was it? What was it? In the end the tent stayed zipped up and it had to be something small like a raccoon or possum. But then it could be a coyote or a bear. Unlikely a bear but a coyote was possible.
What happened next was even more unnerving. It started to growl. Yes right next to the side of tent a creature was grumbling at the tent or another creature. The girl was happy now that she hadn’t open the tent door for a peek. The flimsy tent wall was all she had between her and the growling creature.
This went on for what seemed forever. Then the sound of claws on bark and wood came as music to ones ears. The creature had climbed up the pine tree and gone back over the fence. That sound of claws on the tree sealed the deal that it was a raccoon coming for water in the bird bath or some snails in the moist soil.
Sleep came again at last. Then it was dawn. NOOOO!! It was back and had set off the motion detector floodlights in the back yard. The tent was blasted by light and more sounds. Over on the other side of the yard it could be heard walking on the rock walkway and rummaging around for bird seed.
The lights went out and relaxation came back. BAM!! The lights came back on again and the noise continued. Then the lights faded out and it was gone at last.
How dangerous is the backyard? Some would say not at all. However, if they heard the growling creature what would they say then? The sleeping girl stayed strong and did not run into the house. She snoozed off again knowing it was safer than out in the true woods.
Then it really was dawn. A soft light filled the tent and bird calls welcomed the day. Time to get up they called.
Out she popped from the tent and the girl was greeted by a stellar jay getting his breakfast from a monkey puzzle tree cone in the neighbor’s yard. What an adventure! Started out and ended peaceful but had a bit of sheer terror in the middle.
Leave you with the photo at the top of a Stellar landing on the big seed cone and below of the jay pecking away in our urban oasis.