Sunday, April 17, 2016

Do Not Disturb

Most nights--when it is legal--I quietly slip out our front door. With flashlight in hand I follow the beam of its white light in a sweeping semi-circle. As it washes across the pastures surrounding our home (we call this place The Shire) I look for the bright eyes of deer. They love the safety of darkness, and the succulent feed of the green fescue. I love watching them.

On this night, I go out a little early, and the last vestiges of the dying day linger long enough to illuminate a blue canopy of a cloudless sky. Contrasting it is the dark, colorless silhouette of the horizon. It is awe-inspiring.

"Sandy, it's a beautiful evening. Let's sit on the back porch and watch and listen." I said, when I returned inside. On the porch, only screens separate us from the out-of-doors. Night sounds comes to us unhindered. Every sightline is only slightly diminished. Our first gift was the song of a whippoorwill--not a frequent occurrence in this neck of the woods. Then, a single bullfrog began its deep croak; a sound so bold and boisterous it seems impossible for such a small creature. Within seconds, from the opposite side of the pond, others began to grumble. Soon, tree frogs began their high pitched trill. Above the pond, bats squeaked and swished through the night skies. Toward the southeast an owl hooted.

Now, darkness has swallowed up the last of the daylight. At the furthest edge of the pond something is splashing and causing a ruckus--the bullfrogs go silent. Is it a blue heron fishing under a moonlit sky? A raccoon pawing in the shallows for a crayfish? Not sure. Were I to retrieve my flashlight and fan the banks with a wash of white light I could resolve the question. But I choose not to disturb Mother Nature in the earliest hours of her beauty sleep.

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