I look forward to each Spring when I can open the bedroom window during the night. Fresh air drifting in from the garden and the sounds of the morning breeze or falling rain on the trees can be very soothing. Yes, I look forward to Springtime and saying goodbye to the musty air that has built up in my home over the cold winter.
However, a disadvantage of the ceremonial opening of my window is that the birds outside start their morning gatherings around 5:00 a.m. Because of the double pain glass, I had not been privy to these avian breakfast meetings for many months. For the first week or so, I am awakened each morning by their discussions. So I lay awake calculating the costs and benefits of my decision, weighing my need for sleep versus my desire for fresh air. Then something curious happens. After about 7-10 days, I realize I have slept through the noise and wake up refreshed at my normal time. Is it that the birds have moved on to a new meeting place, or has something happened to me?
This scenario is similar to those described by many people, and something that happens to you every day. Someone moves into a home and for the first month or so they are aware of every little sound the house makes. After a while, they don't pay attention to these sounds anymore. When car alarms first were installed, they generated much attention. Most of the time the alarms don't mean anything important, so people have learned to not react to them. A heavy smoker walks into your office to converse with you, and the odor seems to dissipate after a few minutes. It's not until you step outside for a minute and come back that you realize the odor is still there. We habituate quickly to smells, which is why people can easily wear too much perfume. To their nose, it's not strong enough, so they apply more; however, to someone approaching, it can seem too intense at first smell. The first sight of snowfall in the Autumn brings awe, but by the 5th or 6th occasion, you barely notice the visual display. The taste of the first bite of vanilla ice cream is intense, but by the 3rd or 4th bite, the flavor has diminished. In the header photo above, the crows have learned that the scarey new object in the field is of no threat, and no longer pay it any attention, except as a perch.