Late Night Visitors

11:15 p.m. 

Plagued by my usual insomnia, I am listening to sounds from the woods.  I hear a loon’s cry in the distance – – probably from either Kezar Lake (2 miles away) or Horseshoe Pond (3 miles away):  sound travels far here.  A pair of owls call to one another, hooting “hoo-hoo-hoo-HOO.”  And then I hear the sound of something traipsing through grass.  Something big.  Something loud.  Right under my bedroom window.

“Wake up!” I whisper to my husband.  “Get the flashlight!  I hear something!”

We run to the dining room window, peering outside into the night’s blackness, moving the flashlight to and fro towards the direction of the sound.  I am worried it’s a bear, making its way to our beehives.

Suddenly, a glow:  two pairs of eyes stare back at us.  It’s a cow moose and her calf, munching leaves from trees and bushes!  They stop and survey us with interest, and decide we are a threat.  They quickly move back into the woods.  I am glad they have circumvented my apple tree saplings, because my homespun fence (poles with a few wires strung across) is certainly not moose-proof.

“Well, they’re gone now.  I am sure they won’t be back tonight.  Instead of counting sheep, try counting moose,” my husband says, referring to my insomnia.  I scowl and he quickly falls back to sleep.

Sleep?  How can he sleep?  We just had TWO MOOSE under our bedroom window!  My adrenalin is pumping, my insomnia is roaring.

“Wake up!  I think they’re back!” I say, an hour later.

My husband groans, but dutifully he follows me back to the window.  Yep, the same two moose are munching away.  They don’t like the glare of the flashlight, and so they move back into the woods.

I am happy with the knowledge that while we sleep, unbeknownst to us, our property is pulsing with activity. Despite our physical presence, humans can really never conquer the woods.   I feel almost childlike, like those storybooks about children whose lives are scheduled, patterned, innocuous.  But at night, when the child’s  parents go to sleep, all the toys and stuffed animals in the child’s bedroom spring to life.  The child shares a secret experience with the toys that are his and his alone.   At night there is an entirely different reality but it’s one to which only he is privy.  It quietly empowers him.

This time I fall asleep quickly,  smiling softly to myself.  Even the owls can’t keep me awake.

2 responses to this post.

  1. ah to be in the country. I’m awaken occasionally by a rowdy teen roaming the streets at 1 or 2 am in the city. I long for the quiet of the peeper frogs at night instead of the train coming through town or the police/fire rushing someplace. And rarely on occasion the dam whistle blowing.


  2. Posted by fishmanformosa on May 30, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    this was so interesting; and I love your “take” on your woods-existence. You know how I enjoy vicariously these experiences. (To paraphrase something you once said when you were struggling to put some food beautifully on a platter to serve, referring to your mother obm , “she would never….” you said (meaning serve it other than beautifully); well, I would never {live in the woods}, but I can still “taste” it a bit from your blogs. Thanx Gut shabbos good news.


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