At night make me one with the darkness
In the morning make me one with the light
~ Wendell Berry
We have been blessed with a respite from heat and humidity. For this girl with Celtic & Germanic blood coursing through her veins, that means I can drink in the joys of summer without wilting!
Windows have been opened! Soft summer breezes and birdsong have drifted into the house! Sun porch has become inhabitable again! And the night time chorus has been a welcome replacement for the drone of the air conditioner.
One of my guilty pleasures (which, thankfully, I rarely feel guilty about anymore) is an afternoon nap. And today was a perfect day for one. As I drifted back in to the space between sleep and wakefulness, too comfortable and relaxed to get up – warm summer breeze floating in through the windows – cicada chorus lazily moving like “the wave” from tree to tree – my mind began to tinker with the meetings I have had in the last 18 hours. These were impromptu meetings – not scheduled – I reckon. More correctly, they might be considered to be encounters or observances, not meetings in the true sense of the word. Each brief, and in each case, I did not offer up any meaningful contribution.
And yet, tinkering with the collective experience, laying there sprawled out on the sofa in the sun porch, they seemed more like meetings. In each case, I felt connected to the other party, to the encounter itself. I did not feel like a casual observer only looking on from the outside.
Those thoughts seemed to drift on the breeze and to swirl around other thoughts I’ve been tossing around this week. In particular, a conversation I was blessed to have a few days ago. During which, the other person, an accomplished author, offered that the true reason she writes is not for reasons some would expect, but for a purely selfish reason. She feels the most connected when she is writing. Even though a solitary exercise, she feels the most connected to everything when she puts pen to paper.
I get it. I totally get it. And for me, I have been increasingly aware that I seem to feel the most connected during encounters with the natural world – those unscheduled meetings where I don’t have to speak or form a meaningful analysis – all I need to do is just be.
And, be, is exactly what I did at about 9:00 last night, when out with one of the dogs, patiently waiting for that perfect blade of grass to be located before the necessary business could be done. The moon was up, and she was lovely. I believe the bright golden/orange planet near to the moon is now Mars (?), and I was admiring both of them. A little movement or glimmer in the periphery, down closer to where I was standing, caught my eye. But when I moved my gaze to that location I didn’t see anything. And then, about 8 inches from my right hand, a brief, faint glow. As I squinted to see if it was a firefly – unusual for this late in summer in North Carolina – he moved in closer, about 6 inches from my nose, so I could get a better look! Hovering, I was presented with another faint bit of glow. A little “ah!” and a smile, and he disappeared into the darkness. I looked all about and didn’t see any other blinking beacons.
A little firefly – flying solo in the dark of a late August night. I wonder, was he holding out for that “perfect gal”, or was he just enjoying his solitude and the beautiful evening and sharing what little faint “glow” he still had to share?
And so it was with the other meetings.
~ Sitting in the dark, enjoying a sip of water before bedtime, listening to a solo Katydid amongst a choir of crickets. Waiting for a response from another delicate green soul? Needing to find a mate before languishing in the cooler nights to come? Or just thinking that the choir of crickets could use a bit of diversity?
~ Lying awake, hearing a barred owl on the gutter in the wee hours of the morning. Calling for his mate? Or just preferring a little soft music with his gutter water?
~ Standing in the yard, again patiently waiting for dog business to be conducted, watching a red shouldered hawk wheeling and calling in the clear blue morning sky. Staking out territory? Or just enjoying the view and the wind rushing through her feathers?
~ Reaching for a clean coffee mug, watching a lone hummingbird sampling the nectar from the dewy lantana – red, orange, pink, yellow. Hmmmm……which one is best? Checking out the impatiens in the flower box and not finding much that interested her. Pausing, hovering, eyeballing me as I watched from the other side of the kitchen window. Sizing me up for battle? Or thinking to herself, “wow, I’m glad I look better than that first thing in the morning!”?