Woodpecker partial to journalists

Robert Frost once said, “Good fences make good neighbors.”I guess his neighbor was never a woodpecker.Had it been, he would have seen the beauty of having a woodpecker as a neighbor. I certainly have. It’s only taken me five months.My neighbor first appeared at my apartment near Pritchett Field around Christmas. I was awakened early one morning not with visions of sugarplums; rather, it was with a vision of a horendous tapping outside my window. At the time, I branded myself a loon and dismissed the sound. After the sound reappeared for several days, I knew it was more than my imagination.”Ever hear a knocking sound outside?” I asked my roommate one morning. “Knocking? Like at a door?” she asked.”No, it’s more like a brief, repetitive rapping. But it’s not at a door,” I replied.Looking me over as if I were a living Poe gone mad over a “rapping raven,” my roommate dismissed my idiocies.Yet nearly twice a week, I was still awakened to that drumming sound. I knew my imagination wasn’t in the habit of routinely playing sound tricks on me. And then I saw him.A red-headed woodpecker attached himself to a neighbor’s tree one morning and beat away at it as if his life depended on it. Then he flew.I told my roommate that, at last, I was certain the mysterious sounds I kept hearing were from a woodpecker. “A woodpecker, eh?” she said. “Interesting.” I could tell she had her doubts.Who would have guessed that I would meet up with a woodpecker in the Piney Woods after never having seen a live one in 21 years? As much as I hate early birds (of the sort), I don’t seem to mind my woodpecker neighbor. Waking up to a wild animal is a refreshing change. I’ve definitely been awakened by worse.My neighbors at an old complex used to wake me up during the midnight sawhorse roping routine they would practice cowboy hat-and-pajama clad in our parking lot. There’s nothing like a city cowboy yelping a hardy “Yeee-haaa!” to ruin a good dream.Not to mention my Houston Chronicle delivery man is loud. But I’m sure he gets a kick out of launching a pound of journalism up a flight of stairs only to have it rebound off my door at 4 a.m. Maybe I should bulls-eye it for him.This morning, I was awakened again by that woodpecker. I raced to my window to sneak a peak.Nothing.I raced out on my balcony to sneak a peak from a different angle.Nothing.My roommate roused about an hour later. My animated woodpecker story was all too familiar.”Yes, yes. I think I heard it this morning,” she said.Sweet confirmation to my ears! I tried again to see him among the wilderness of a view our apartment affords, but it was to no avail. It wasn’t until my roommate left that I heard a long, sweet “cooing” of sorts followed by drumming.He was back. And I saw him.My roommate already thinks I’m totally nuts with my obsession with seeing this winged bird. I do wish, though, that she could see it before she admits me somewhere. Maybe he’ll make another appearance for the both of us. So, far, he’s only appeared to me.Maybe he’s partial to journalists.

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