Music to the ears, or just a woodpecker?

What the…

The rat-a-tat-tat sound blasted through the air like a missile, almost causing me to leap right out of my natural running shoes.

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I was in the middle of a morning run through a forest trail, but unlike 99.999 per cent of all my other runs, I wasn’t wearing my iPod. The blasted earphones gave up the ghost an hour earlier and I had no replacement. So instead of hits of the ’80s, ’90s and today, my ears filled with the beat of nature.

And for that, I was not prepared.

Birds sang, leaves rustled, the gravel beneath my feet crunched with every step. And amazingly, a woodpecker appeared right in the tree in front of me. Ignorant of my awe, he continued doing his thing while I just watched. It was an auditory overload.

After that, I was far more aware of all I’d been missing, including the sound of my own breath and the pumping of my arms against my jacket. Different bird sounds began to reveal, and the swoosh of shrubbery parallel to my step I can only imagine was a squirrel or some other furry ground dweller. No, it wasn’t a snake. Please don’t let it be a snake.

The bottom line: It wasn’t so bad that my earphones weren’t working. Next time, I may even leave them behind by choice.

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