I am sitting outside with my iPad in my lap, watching the light fade from dark orange hues in the west to the all-encasing shadow that arrives on the heels of the Sun’s departure. Yes, I am outside, experiencing the dying of the light, and the increasing strength of the night’s shadow. I still hear the faint calls of the Chickadees nearby, and the occasional song of the Starling that has taken a liking to my feast of birdseed that I spread near the bird bath. But as the twilight fades and my ability to see further than my fence without the aid of the street lamp flees with it – the night gets quiet. Soon enough, the crickets take up their long, drawn out aria for the evening – their song punctuated by the inevitable whoosh of cars rushing down my street. I can hear the steady thump of their tires as each one passes over the cracks between slabs of pavement that comprise the roadway. Sometimes, I am greeted by the shrill and deafening sounds of the music playing in their cars. As they pass and move further down the street, the sound slowly dies out, and the symphony of the night begins again.
I am literally astounded by the sounds I experience – and the rush of emotions that each will elicit within me. The feeling of serenity with the sound of the crickets. The warm, spreading joy as I hear the sounds of the birds settling in for their night. The annoyance at each intrusion of sound inevitably introduced from the passing motor vehicles.
As my eyes adjust to the dimmed light, I can vaguely make out the stars in the night sky. I know they will embrace the company of the Moon soon, riding through the sky in a triumphant parade of celestial bodies. So tiny in the night sky, but each a much greater entity than I could ever fathom. Some of these stars could be planets, reflecting their brilliance in the night sky. But which, I do not know. I have never been really strong on such things as Astronomy. A little voice inside me sounds a reminder that I should. I work for a college where I can take such classes at no cost. And more knowledge is always a good thing.
I still feel the heat from the day’s sun. It was a very warm day today – the hottest day so far this year, if I remember the temperatures of the previous days well enough. Here I am, sitting in the dark, and I can still feel the heat of the day, rising off the ground below me. Such a curious experience to notice. And yet it is there – and I am experiencing it. And that is exactly what this time is all about – experiencing a part of the cycle of the day that I normally do not. I used to be such a night owl when I was a much younger man, stationed at Carswell Air Force Base, working the night shift. The night-time was when I was awake. But I never really paid much attention to the experiences I was having. I was more interested in partying with friends, hoisting a few pints, throwing darts, making mischief. Very, very different experiences.
Its time to come in now. The sprinkler system has started its rounds on the backyard, and I have no desire to be completely soaked. So I gather my iPad and myself and come inside. But not without stopping and saying a silent “thank you”…to the Gods, to the Spirits of the Land, to myself – and to the denizens of my backyard, for their serenade has been a wonderful experience. An experience I will duplicate tomorrow.