The other day I finally solved a mystery that has been plaguing me for weeks. I had not lost sleep over it, but it was starting to feel like a Scooby Doo mystery.
It all started one day when I was sitting at my house and I heard a rhythmic thumping sound. It sounded like a rubber ball hitting the ground and then slowly speeding up as it came to rest: thump………….thump………… thump…..thump…..thump…. thump……thump….thump..thump..thump..thump…… I kept thinking it was coming from upstairs or possibly outside. I looked around a bit and couldn’t find anything that would explain it. Like all good mystery protagonists, I figured it was probably nothing, shrugged my shoulders, and went back to what I was doing.
A while later I heard it again. More looking and increased curiosity. Still, I couldn’t find or think of anything that would make this sound.
Many days later, after hearing it again, I asked my son Ben if he had heard it at any point. He said he had and joined me in this thumping hunt.
Jumping forward a week or so to earlier this week, I was putting the recycling bins out to the road and heard this same thumping sound behind me. This time, though, it was coming from the field between where I was and my house. I was finally getting a break in this case! This was something not only outside, but most likely a creature of some sort!
I finished up my garbageman duties and headed back to the house, already formulating the Google search I would do when I got there: “thumping sound forest speeding up”. Low and behold, a very clear result popped up at the top of the search results.
It turned out this sound was just a ruffled grouse somewhere in the forest nearby putting on a show for lady grouses. Here’s the video I found that blew this mystery wide open:
Feeling proud of myself, I later told my wife, Liz, how I had solved this case. It was not very satisfying for me, as her response was that she knew what it was all along, but had just not heard it when I did and therefore did not think of it when I had mentioned it to her earlier. (The Mystery Gang usually gets a lot more credit and congratulations when they solve a mystery.) She thinks it is funny that I have lived here for 15 years and have never noticed this before. (Maybe I should go outside more?)
Regardless, I am glad to have solved this mystery and to have learned a bit more about the world that is apparently only 15 feet from my house. Who knows what future mysteries may await me, but for now I can relax each time I hear this thumping sound knowing it is a guy out in the forest thumping his chest, looking tough and trying to pick up “chicks”. It is safe to say that many of us have been there before. Good luck grouse-man!
After all that, though, I keep thinking that the real moral of solving this mystery is to remember that my wife knows best and that I should listen to her more often.