Inspiration

By Charles Towne

I am a collector of fine tree squeaks.  And unless you spend an inordinate amount of time wandering around in the woods most likely don’t know what a tree squeak is.  I am sure, that even though you didn’t recognize it for what it was, you have heard the mysterious call of the tree squeak.

Those that have encountered tree squeaks in the past have invariably heard them before they saw them, and to reassure you, I don’t believe anybody has ever been attacked by a tree squeak which leads me to believe they are quite harmless.  Yes, harmless and quite docile.

Tree squeaks are sought more for their music than anything else. And just in case someone comes to you and tells you that their dear aunt Sadie has a coat made of tree squeak hides, don’t believe a thing they tell you.

As I have already indicated, anybody that spends much time in the great outdoors has heard an occasional tree squeak now and again, and to hear that mysterious song in the middle of the night has jolted more than one camper out of his slumber to sit there staring into the darkness in wonder.

Now, just in case you are thinking that a tree squeak is some sort of furry little animal, or a willow-the-wisp wandering around in the woods singing and squeaking, I better set you straight.

What a tree squeak is, no more, and no less, is two branches or trees moving in the wind, amorously caressing each other.   This then is the source of that sound which has robbed you of your sleep.

Some tree squeaks sing high, some sing low, but rarely will you hear a tree squeak sing high and low at the same time, but that isn’t to say as this story illustrates, that it never happens.

Collecting tree squeaks is really an interesting hobby and calls for no more than a good pair of ears unless you want to record the music and then a good recording device with a directional microphone might well be advised.  Just think, you could call the resulting melody, ”Rhapsody in the tree tops.”

One day I was wandering in a large oak grove searching for a particularly illusive tree squeak  that I had been searching for. There was a gentle breeze so I figured, and rightly so, the tree squeak would be active and singing right pretty.

Yes, there it was just ahead of me!  It was a two toned tree squeak!  It was singing a somewhat peculiar, “Skree skraww, Skree skraww!”  And there, some twenty feet above me, two oaks had grown close together, and the light breeze occasionally brought them into tender and intimate embrace.

The bark had been worn away by that gentle movement up there, and now, where the two trees joined, naked wood met naked wood, resulting in just the right amount of friction, and thus the music

Suddenly, from the corner of my eye a movement caught my attention…

There on the ground something black, yes, black and fast and quite large was running across the forest floor in front of me. Now my attention was no longer on the tree squeak, for that large, black, and very fast something had changed course and was running right at me.

A BLACK BEAR WAS MAKING A VERY DETERMINED CHARGE AND I WAS HIS TARGET!

The bear was moving so fast that by the time it registered on me what was happening all I had time to do was throw my arms in the air and shout a very bearlike “WHAAA!”

At my shout the bear veered away and passed so close I could have reached out and touched him.

I want you to know that bear made fast look slow!  He Had covered about a hundred feet and all I had time to do was throw my hands in the air and shout. Fast? I am here to tell you he was fast!

When it was all done and my heart had settled down a bit I came to the conclusion the bear had been sleeping and I had surprised him on his bed.

Perhaps brother bear thought I was another bear.  It’s impossible to know for sure what precipitated his charge but all I know for sure is that when a bear charges past so close he can spit in your eye, he is too close.

As I walked away the tree squeak was still serenading me.  Come to think about it, I bet that bear was listening to the tree squeak’s song too.

AN OUTDOORSMAN’S PRAYER

Thank you Papa God for attuning my senses to such a fine degree.
Thank you for giving me the ability to enjoy even the little things in life.
When I think of the vastness of your creation and then ponder the whisper of a mouse scurrying through the grass, or the chirp of a bird in the night, or the buzz of a bee I can’t help but be astounded by your tenderness, or by your power and might.  Thank you for you, and for loving me.
In Jesus Holy name I ask it , Amen

Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Well, I have never heard tell of a tree squeak, but have heard those unidentified noises. I always thought they were just singing leaves…or whatever.
    Now, I know. The bear charging was a bit too close for comfort.
    I guess you could say…..a close encounter of the bear kind!!
    Love your stories, Chuck!
    God’s blessings on you!!

  2. Dear CSG, Singing leaves? Well now you are teaching me! I am glad that you like the articles. Blessings on you and yours, Chaz

    P.S. YEAH, i LIKE THOSE SORT OF ENCOUNTERS!

  3. Awww…..natures very own harp serenade! My dear Charles, you must have a very exhausted guardian angel. Love your tales of nature…keep em coming!

  4. Dear NH, you aren’t going to believe this but I didn’t have just one guardian angel, I had an entire squad of them watching over me. My guardian angels were the only ones that routinely had to go for counselling sessions, and I want to ask you, have you ever seen an angel with a broken wing? It ain’t a pretty sight. Chaz

  5. There are actually wind harps that utilize the wind to create restful harmonics! They are called “Aeolian” harps. One day I am going to build one. I will let you know how that works out. A friend

  6. Ernie Bursey, point well taken my friend. Rarely is nature silent. There is usually something moving, thus we hear squeaks, chirps, sloughing, rustling, snaps, cracks, moans, groans, the unexplainable thuds, creaks, cracks, croaks, clicks and snaps that disturb our rest, and jerk us awake to puzzle, and stare into the darkness, wondering? Sleep well, night night. Chaz

  7. Dear Friend, yes, named after Aeolis, the Greek god of the wind. Aeolian harps have been around for hundreds of years. Our ears play such an important part in our overall health. Probably more than any other sense. Whispers, whistles, rustling, raspings, and scrapes, all are detected only by the ear! Chaz

  8. Charlie, where are you find the plots of your stories is beyond me. I believe that the items you were write about are endless. I most enjoy your forays especially the woods

  9. Herb, the truth be known, each of us, that’s each of God’s children, have adventures and misadventures that we can write about if we examine our lives carefully. Again, truth be known, there is, as a wise person once said, a book concealed in each of us just begging to be revealed. I could help discover that particular book! Chaz

  10. Sure my friend, you listen to tree squeeks but do you understand tree sqeeks? The folks in the tree language department here tell me that “skree scraww” means, ” watch out, BEAR! “, forewarned is forearmed!

  11. See Richard, I always knew you were a most astute individual. I didn’t know there was anybody in the area that spoke or even understood treese (that is what trees speak) in any of the local universities. Treese is a most difficult language to speak due to the fact there are so many dialects. There is oakese, (also spoken in Okinawa, plus willowese, birchese, walnutese, (spoken by a lot of nuts) hickoryese, (hickory dickory dock is confusing because it is also spoken by a lot of clocks) Maplese, etc. I hope this allays some confusion, Bless you my nutty friend, Chaz

  12. I have to agree with Richard that hearing without understanding could lead to problems. My better half is now very much into watching the “I Was Prey” program on the Animal Planet channel and there are many stories from people surviving bear attacks in the woods. If only they understood treese they may have saved themselves a lot of pain.

  13. Certainly Dear Bro Charles, this story reminds me my childhood in the farms. In my Grandma’s back orchad or sowing. Where I spent parts of the time playing, climbing the too mango tree (huge) and all chicken and pigs, etc.
    I could feel the leaves, the trees squeaks (specially when I climbed the mango tree) and every single and unique sound that have Me calm and peace at that moment.

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