I live on 9 and half acres on the eastern slope of Biscuit Mountain. It consists of about 90 percent trees and bushes and 10 percent open space.
When I moved here into an existing house 56 years ago there was a bounty of birds, animals and reptiles. It was usual to have a cardinal sitting in a walnut tree, sing in the early evening. We had robins, towhees, wrens and all the other usual birds. We also had the occasional scarlet tanager, Baltimore oriole, and the like.
We had coveys of blue birds and cedar waxwings pass through. Some years we would have the magnificent pileated woodpeckers set up residency nearby. It was special to have a wood thrush sing for 10 or 15 minutes just outside the living room screen door. There were lots of chipmunks and squirrels darting around, including flying squirrels that are such a delight, except when they sneak into your attic and run around all night.
We had many lovely little ring neck snakes. We had one black snake we called Big Buster because he was so big. Last summer we saw one little black snake - just once. This summer - none. No ring necks for the last two or three years. The bats over head in the evening chasing insects are gone. We have a Carolina wren that we see and hear occasionally.
What we hear almost exclusively is traffic on the highway down below. And where are the chipmunks and squirrels?
When you read articles about global warming and environment change you might think, this is serious, we should be doing more about it, or you might think it is all a hoax. But when you see and hear environmental change right where you call home, you are frightened.
We have 3 + 2 = 5 grandchildren, all under age 7, and all are beautiful and strong. It distresses me to think about the future that we are leaving for them. And when they are grown up and in charge, what will be their opinion of all of us?