Let's continue our night walk through the woods for one more day. That is about all the time we have left before the sun goes down completely. Things look different at night when we lose familiar backdrops and surroundings. Grass becomes art
A common insect grasping a dried broken stick gains an extraterrestrial personality.
Its black wing patches stand out like flags at a drag race.
The dragonfly holds on, allowing me to photograph it at will.
It looks different from each angle.
Its colors change with the light. When back-lit, the wings show brown. Its head glows silver.
The light changes and silver becomes bronze.
I shine the light around and see a small, bloomless Jack-in-the-pulpit. Some from my garden came from this area several years ago before the tract was timbered. I am glad to see that at least one ancestor survives here. Perhaps there are more.
My ankles become wet with dew as weeds on an unmown path make me long for taller socks and blue jeans instead of the anklet socks and capri pants I now wear.
But wet ankles or not, I am pleased to find a graceful fern growing amid violets and brambles at the edge of the path.
The woods are becoming very dark. I barely miss tripping over a limb across the path so I shine the light ahead. The way is clear.
To some people the woods are spooky at night. We tend to be afraid of what do don't know or don't understand. I don't claim to fully know or understand the woods, but they usually don't spook me. While, like many people I do sometimes imagine sounds to emanate from a deranged ax murderer stalking me . . .I see shapes that become goblins (whatever that means). . . I see faces peering out at me from the dark trees . . . but usually even those faces are friendly, like this tree trying to whistle. (You do see that, don't you?)
More often, instead of a place of fear, I see the woods at night as a place to discover anew what I've seen before. To test my senses; smell night smells, hear night sounds, see the night sights.
In the night I am never alone in the woods, I don't always know what is out there, but I know it is there. It is there; they are there. We are there together; sharing the dark and bits of light. Tonight you have been there with me. For now we will leave the woods and venture back into the garden where we will be safe among the plants we know. What will the dark do to our familiar garden friends? That we will see tomorrow.