We live in a little subdivision of cabins north of Fairbanks. We can see our nearest neighbor through the trees in the winter if we look really hard. We usually don't. In the summer, we can hear folks sitting out on decks talking or music drifting over the spruce trees from a party on the next street over. Now that we are getting to know more and more of them, it's nice having neighbors near but out of sight. Borrowing a cup of sugar can be a mile bike-ride to my Little Tour Company coworkers down one road or fellow EMT the other direction. This negates the calories the sugar will add to the cookies. It works out perfectly.
Last weekend, however, one of our neighbors began using the nice weather to do some home repairs. I woke up at six AM none too pleased to hear a cacophony of pneumatic drilling and hammering echoing through our cabin's open windows. Since I had to be somewhere, and because the days are long now and it was one of the first nice weekends, I shrugged it off and left for work at seven. Sunday was no different, and the early morning wake-up call did not make me happy. My patience was worn out on Monday when I woke to drilling and hour before I needed to be up to take a friend to the airport. I was determined to find out who was making all the too-early racket, and (uncharacteristically for me) give them a piece of my mind. A girl needs her sleep! And I wasn't getting much to begin with last week.
I walked outside and stood on the porch to locate the direction of the sound, and hopefully determine which offending cabin deserved my wrath. Hearing the drill again in the quiet morning air, I walked to the back of the cabin and peered into the trees It sounded like it was coming from our landlord's other two cabins on the next road back, a hundred or so yards through the woods. I stood still, waiting for the noise again to confirm my suspicion. But when the drill went off, it sounded like it was coming from the road on the other side of the cabin.
Confused, I walked out to the street. I stood still, watching one of the millions of snowshoe hares around this spring plop its way down the verge of the road. Up on our roof, I saw a mid-sized bird perched just on the crest looking around quietly. I waited. And waited.
Suddenly, the little bird arched his neck and began hammering away at our metal roof, producing the ear-shattering racket we had been living with every morning for three days. It was a misguided woodpecker, and I was - in my exhaustion - furious. I have never wished harm on an animal more than I wanted this little woodpecker to pay for domestic disturbance.
I stormed down the road in disbelief, heading for my friend's house to take her to the airport. When I returned an hour later, the little bird was still up there hammering away. I dragged Peter out to the driveway to have a look. He threw a rock at the roof and scared the beast away, laughing. He says he thought it sounded like a woodpecker all along.