I love moonlight. There is just something magical about the way it lights up the world, and yet it is still dark. Everything takes on an extra dimension, and the whole world seems alive.
When I was a teenager, my room was at the back of the house with its own door to the outside world. On moonlight nights I often slipped outside as my parents slept and went for a ramble. I had a German shepherd dog who was my constant companion and protector, so I was never afraid. And as I’ve said before, I was one of those teens who thought I was invincible.
I would wander the open fields, or plunge into the woods without a care in the world, but simply rejoicing in the beauty of the night and the world my God had made. I remember clearly the moonlight filtering through the leaves creating little pools of light among the trees. Or in the winter, looking up at the stark branches outlined in three dimensions against a full harvest moon. I would sit on a log and listen to the music of the night. You see, the night is alive with sounds, especially when the moon is full. The bugs, the squeak of bats, the night birds. When we were in the Air Force this is what I missed most. The sounds of the night on the farm.
I was never afraid. I gave no thought to snakes, spiders, or predators. Nick, my trusty dog, was always by my side. These were my woods. I knew them like the back of my hand and I could walk them with my eyes closed. One night, we did have a brief encounter with a coyote who was hunting for mice in the leaves. Nick chased him a few yards, then we continued on. We often encountered bats, the hoot owl who lived in the big hollow tree, and once or twice skunks. Skunks are very curious and gentle. If you don’t scare them, they will just look you over and go on their way. Nick was wise enough to leave them alone.
My dog Nick
A few nights ago we had a full moon. Greg went to bed early, and when I finished cleaning the kitchen, I turned off all of the lights, slipped out the back door and sat on the porch. Near my chair was Buffy, one of my chickens who insists on sleeping on the porch. I sat very still, waiting for the music to begin. Before long I began to hear the bugs, frogs, and the old hoot owl down in the hollow. I heard my screech owl, who’s ancestors have lived here much longer than I. Nearby in the chicken house, I could hear my hens muttering and rustling about on their roost. Do chickens dream, I wonder?
From the field on the other side of the garden I heard a snort, and knew that Bill the mini horse was sleeping close by. And then from down in the woods I heard a fox bark. I’ve suspected for a while we had foxes, but now I know for sure. Beau, who patrols the yard fence all night, barked in reply, warning Mr. Fox to come no farther. Closer to the fence line I heard rustling sounds and wondered if the raccoon family was about. Or maybe an opossum, or the family of skunks I know live in the brush pile below the house. Beau marched back and forth barking to let them know his yard was off limits.
The Siamese appeared and took the chair opposite of me and settled down to listen, too. I’m sure he heard much more than I. Presently, I saw the bats swoop by, hopefully eating any mosquitoes lingering in the unusually warm weather we are having. Finally, I looked at the clock on my table and saw that it was 11:30 and realized I needed to be in bed. As if in confirmation, I suddenly heard the rooster crow. Fred is a strange sort of fellow. He crows at all hours of the night. Maybe he’s responding to sounds he hears, and wants to make sure his flock is tucked up safely for the night.
So taking his advice, DC and I went in to bed. But the next full moon, we’ll be on the porch again, enjoying the music of the night. And maybe I can even get Greg to join us.
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News Briefs and Old Advertisements from the Capper’s Farmer August 1929 Issue
News briefs from the August 1929 issue of Capper’s Farmer include articles on sowing pig pastures in fall, a cistern for poultry and more.