Except for an occasional whisper of leaves that constituted an eerie breeze, the denseness of the air was stifling as I put the trash and yard waste out to the curb. We were under tornado watches and storm warnings abounded. It had rained earlier, but it was dry on the side of town I was at before coming home.
Since the grass was still wet there was to be no lawn mowing and no weed whacking this evening; the yard and grass would wait another day. There was a pile of tree limbs in the back I had pruned the previous weekend and I quickly decided I would ready it for the haulers. I put on a pair of work gloves and grabbed some of the lighter stuff off the top of the pile.
Walking towards the street I felt the stillness in everything. Like everything was peaceful. But I went on Facebook after I completed this garbage and yard waste transporting task and saw more than a few people refer to it as feeling creepy outside.
Yes, weather watches and warnings are scary like a Stephen King novel. But tonight something did feel different. It was the stillness.
I largely ignored it all as I continued taking the piles of limbs to the front of the yard near the edge of the street. Finally, before I lifted and carried the actual yard waste bucket, I used the key I had grabbed before going outside, to open the garage door. I needed the pruning shears. I was going to put it in the yard waste bucket before bringing it to the front yard. Then I was going to cut everything up in the hopes that the newly sized pile of limbs would be acceptable to the waste and garbage workers.
We all have to pass muster and city services’ requirements are not to be ignored. I had thought everything yard waste-wise had to be in a container but I saw a neighbor who had piled his limbs (not his limbs, but his tree limbs) in the front of his yard near the street for the haulers to take. I didn’t think it would be taken as the piles were kind of long, but when I came home later that evening they were all gone. So, I was emboldened to leave my own pile of limbs for the haulers that they’d find acceptable as well.
Doing my best Dexter Morgan imitation sans chain saw of course, I began attacking the limbs with the pruning shears in the stillness. Something told me that although I would have preferred to proceed at a leisurely pace, I should just think about moving a little quicker now.
I didn’t see any animals around at all. Usually someone is walking their dog at that time, but the street was empty. I looked around in between squeezing the pruning shear’s arms and neatly snapping the branches in front of me one at a time into smaller pieces, to find the new neighbors going in to their house.
There was no sound. Not even the sounds of children playing. There are kids on the block, but you couldn’t hear a peep out of them. The new neighbors soon closed their front door and I went back to my consolidation task in silence.
I heard a knocking in the air suddenly. It wasn’t hail or anything like that. Rain can come on quickly here. If you drive around in a 16-year old car like I do and enjoy riding with the sun roof open, the rain can deluge you so quickly that the sun roof doesn’t close in time before your car’s interior is drenched.
But the knocking wasn’t coming from anywhere outside that I could see. I tried to ignore it but it was too rhythmic to forget. Some might have thought it sounded like a woodpecker, but it was quite different from that type of sound, more muffled.
I quickly set about finishing the fashioning of the new pile. The knocking was more audible now and I looked across the street. Nothing but the stillness as I sought to pinpoint the sound’s location. But soon it stopped.
My pile was taking on what seemed to me to be a form that the haulers would deem meets their requirements on such things. I was satisfied but suddenly felt a little on edge. The knocking sound resumed. It was definitely coming from across the street somewhere near the new neighbors. You couldn’t hear anything else, though. Suddenly, I realized the sound resembled something you would hear when someone was using a hammer to drive nails–rhythmic, consistent and dare I say, professional, in quality.
The sound was purposeful and I soon surmised it was probably nothing more than the neighbor putting some pictures up on the wall. Still, it was eerie that I could hear something like that. It was as if I should listen more intently, I might actually be able to hear a conversation from inside the home (and my hearing is not the best).
I didn’t want to spend any more time wondering about how I could be over sixty feet away from activity taking place within a home and possibly be able to hear any of it. It was enough that I heard the faint, rhythmic pounding sounds again. I don’t do uneasy, but I was feeling off.
I turned away, the task completed. Walking to the back yard and closing the gate, I grabbed the rake I had taken out of the garage, but had forgotten once I had used it to clean up the pile of debris left from where the limbs had resided, and quickly mounted it to the garage wall rack. I finally pulled the garage door down closed with a thud and took the key from its lock, but not before hanging the shears up first.
Walking towards the house back door I saw a huge rabbit. I thought of Alice in Wonderland. I tried to shush it, but it ignored me until I was almost on top of it, hopping off not completely away but just a safe enough distance where it knew I couldn’t harm it. The giant hare looked back at me, eyes filled black like coals, following me and reflecting the stillness that led me up the stairs and into the house.