Our telephone rang towards the end of dinner one night. My husband picked up the receiver; our neighbor was on the other end.
“Are you hearing noises in the morning?” he asked.
It was an odd question to ask a family with four energetically verbal daughters, 19 chickens (including two roosters), seven ducks a-quacking, and one dog who barks at the slightest provocation.
Are we hearing noises in the morning? When are we NOT hearing noises?
My first response, when my husband repeated our neighbor’s question to me, was guilt. Were our roosters — who crow not just at sun-up, but throughout the day — becoming a nuisance? Did this have to do with my daughter’s ninth birthday party the previous day, when we’d had six rambunctious youngsters telling silly stories and dancing to the music in their heads around our fire pit long past bedtime? Or to that very morning, when four of those rambunctious youngsters awoke in the tent where they’d camped out in our yard, demanding assistance at 6:30 AM?
The answer, it turned out, was none of the above. Our neighbor was simply inviting us to come over and see the white peacock that had settled in his yard.