Meandering Along the River’s Edge
~by Virginia Anson-Rhys, OFS
September 30,2015: Nocturnal Visit
The deep of night has much to offer…and for Virginia, her insomnia was her ticket into the creature world that lives in the dark.
Insomnia, a much unwelcome guest for a duo of years. Such an annoyance. Yet mightn’t insomnia prove itself quite a welcome blessing?
Three in the wee morn and nary a hint of sleep. Darkness, my quite determined companion, was, perhaps, exceptionally lonesome. This night repose evaded. Nature summoned. New discoveries in the offing—God’s creation in darkness.
Porch invited. Night’s air gifted its sweet freshness. Moon subtly brightened the light deprived terrain. Casting her soft luminance, she framed oak’s leaves, scatterdly filtering her essence through leaves’ fabric.
Night’s delicate breeze floated betwixt locust leaves playing its bashful lullaby. Breeze’s tenderness stroked my face, the aroma of night’s dampness wafting past—destination confidential. Its perfume hinted of commingled arboreal and floral nectar with a mere dash of musty earth. Tantalizing, yet oh so relaxing.
Night, humanity’s slumbertide, devoid of day’s noise and commotion, yet blessed with a symphony of its own tranquil design. Crickets conversed in rhythmic accord. Tree frogs croaked in elevated pitch, more resembling a song than a croak, a song mistaken for a covey of nocturnal birds.
The hint of rustling below the porch distracted my contemplative mood. The glow of tiny twin globes, reflections of flashlight’s beam, betrayed a visit from a pair of thieving raccoons—juveniles judging by their silhouettes.
Perhaps inexperienced with human presence—or likely oblivious—the pair was not initially deterred from foraging for bird seed now fallen beneath feeders, remnants of less than fastidious avian and squirrel guests. Nocturnal thieves, appropriately disguised in bandits’ masks.
Supping engrossed, these bandits of the night my spying totally ignored. However, at short length, flashlight sent one juvenile meandering toward the wood pile and his sibling—an educated guess on my part—up the oak nearest the porch. Maintaining his perch for a handful of minutes, sibling descended and sauntered off, likewise, in the direction of the wood pile.
Flashlight extinguished, my nighttide vigil resumed. Crickets and tree frogs continued their chorus, the quiet that was their backdrop lulling me to a more placid state. Moon’s glow again softened the borders of leaves and branches. How enticingly splendid is nature in her imagined repose.
A scream of a girl child—yet likely not so—broke my trance. The animal source quite a mystery, though some said it was a fox. And likely so, as foxes have been seen roaming through the neighborhood. An almost loon-like call followed in a flash of seconds. A loon it seems not, as no body of water exists near enough to attract such charming creatures. Yet another mystery call. Mysteries, nature’s intrigue.
A rustling ‘neath porch’s floor. Perhaps the coon pair meandered back. Foolishly ceasing to resist the itch to peak, flashlight donned its luminous crest. The raccoon kids had returned, likely perceiving safety in flashlight’s intermission, the call of seeded debris too strong. The glow of quad orbs betrayed my spying intrusion. I should have resisted the urge. My youngling coons departed again at quicker pace toward the wood pile, never to return during this night’s vigil. A few deep breaths of night’s bouquet and repose seemed an imminent ally.
This night nature beckoned. Her nighttime cycle, her amusing entertainment replenishing my lack of quietude. Nature at night. One of Our Creator’s great gifts. Much have I been missing by not partaking of this delectable treat. Yet insomnia’s company? I relish it not.
Virginia Anson grew up in the shadows of Sandia Crest in New Mexico. Family camping trips may have sparked her passion for nature. She holds an A.S. in Electronics Technology, a B.A. in Writing, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and a certificate in Wildlife/Forestry Conservation. Her book, Mother Earth’s Caretakers, targets middle school youngsters and is published as an e-book for Kindle. Virginia is a Vietnam Era veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and her volunteer endeavors see her as a lector, Eucharistic minister, and sacristan in her parish and as a habitat steward for the National Wildlife Federation. She especially cherishes her life in the Secular Franciscan Order, following in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi.
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