Christopher Creek has a sound of its own. It is an aggregation of seasonal, time of day, event, and historical sounds. There are sounds of tranquility and, at times, sounds of excitement or annoyance.
This morning, the songbirds began their trills at 5:15. They are the house wrens that rent one of the apartments on the patio. Late April, they arrive and begin refurnishing in preparation for the next generation.
Then come the early-rising working folks, two or three heading out, and many more coming here. Many are pulling trailers, noisily bouncing through the deep potholes. Yes, we still have an abundance of them.
The creek, itself, has many sounds, depending on your proximity. For most of the year, you hear a quiet gurgle and a gentle murmuring of the water trickling over the rocks as you walk along the banks. At the crossing, there is a pleasant sound of the water spilling over our mini falls. This is often accompanied by squeals and shouts of the kids playing in the waters there. Other times of the year, one can hear the roar of the high water rushing through town. Occasionally, be it winter or summer, the waters run so high and so fast that the heavy, booming sound of huge boulders bouncing along the creek bottom dominates all other sounds. Winter often gives us dead silence, particularly during a heavy snowfall. Then comes the crunch of snow beneath the tires of the first vehicles on the road. Later come the thuds of the “scuds” — the clumps of snow falling from the pine trees.
Along with the song of the house wrens, there are the shrieks of the woodpeckers, which seem to be constantly at war. A swooping sound overhead is usually from the raven and the sharp squawk accompanies the flight. If they are sitting in the trees they have an unnerving “twok” call.
Occasionally, one might hear the turkeys as they traverse the ridge.
Raccoons have their own chatter and even cries for help when they become entrapped in an empty dumpster.
Early fall brings us the piercing sound of the bull elk bugling their annual serenade. We have even heard the piercing scream of the mountain lion from the ridge.
Back in the days before the bypass, the sounds of traffic would often dominate the air. At 2 a.m. you might sit straight up in bed as a semi came down the steep curve on the east end of town with its jake-brake loudly rapping.
For 15 years, we have enjoyed the relative sounds of silence from highway noise. The whir and whine of a distant chain saw, the clanging and clunking of the refuse trucks, the blaring car-alarm horns, or some of the noisy off-road vehicles are a few of the annoyances.
Some are not so much an annoyance, but have their own unique sound and you can tell when Chuck or Dean is passing by without even looking up.
During the summer months on a Friday or Saturday evening, there might be the sound of music wafting through the pines. This Saturday will be one of those times, as the Greg Paul Band will entertain down at the Landmark. That, in itself, is the sound of our return to normalcy.
There are memorable sounds, such as the patriotic music when Bud Light John passes by in the Fourth of July parade. Or the blaring car horns on Columbine Road following Mike and Junior’s wedding five years ago. Or, more recently, the birthday parade for Spencer.
From time to time, you will hear the roar of a fire engine headed up the Loop to respond to some emergency on the highway. On rare occasion, you might hear the helicopter landing in front of the fire station. That is never a good sound.
As we are in fire season, you will soon hear the unique drone of the twin-engine Forest Service spotter plane. Years ago, we heard the roar of the slurry bombers right above us as the Promontory Fire threatened the Creek as it encroached from up in See Canyon. Thirty years ago, for days we heard the higher, heavier drone of the slurry bombers headed back and forth to fight the Dude Fire. This June, we hope to bring you some of the personal stories of the folks that experienced that memorable event.
In about six weeks, we can look forward to the sharp cracks and thunderous crescendos of lightning storms, and with it the monsoon rains.
Meanwhile, we will enjoy the sound of the music and chatter as the big crowd in Milburn Meadow enjoys the combined Christopher Creek Homeowners Association meeting and community picnic at 1 p.m., Saturday, June 27.
Traffic and the number of folks in town has been like holiday weekends the past couple to weeks. Memorial Day is upon us and it sounds like we are going to have a big summer season ... and that’s another week in the Creek.