There is a sort of calm that takes over as twilight turns to night sky.
As the sun sets, the nuclear fuel driving the shifting breezes subsides. The towering tree branches no longer swaying back and forth. Releasing their grips with neighboring limbs. As if some inaudible song had reached the outro of its final chorus and the dancers now return to their seats. Resting their mighty legs for tomorrows gyrations.
The ripples on the nearby lake cease and its surface becomes as smooth as glass. A mirror reflecting the stars and now rising moon.
Starring down into that infinite abyss is like peering into an underworld. A parallel Universe that mirrors the ever-expanding night horizon. It seems you could pluck a star right out of the water, but their images recede the closer you move towards them.
Soon the air is filled with new music. New colors. And a new song and dance begins.
The early morning melodies of avians pairing to build nests has dwindled to be replaced by a singular Whippoorwill’s repetitive and anguished, high-pitch call.
A Barred Owl’s hooting echoes across the lake.
A rhythmic canticle of coyotes howling suddenly floods the valley floor. The mournful melody of the adults accompanied by the yelps of their pups forms a pulsatile wave. You not only hear it, but you can feel it deep inside. Penetrating.
The backup ensemble of frogs and crickets keeps climbing, reaching a crescendo.
New colors intensely glow.
Yellows, oranges, reds, and blues. A Fire in all its brilliance. The pit was prepared earlier in the day when cured hickory and oak branches, having been pruned during the last thunderstorm, were collected for the occasion.
All of the varying hues combine into a bright white light that rises and dissipates, only to be reflected down and re-concentrated onto the forest floor by the first canopy of branches and leaves some twenty feet above. The crackling wood marks the tempo of the other night wanderers. And the perfume of the bluish wood smoke hovers around a half-ark of chairs.
No one speaks. All are hypnotized. A flame induced trance. An ancient meditation. Old as all time. Encoded in our DNA.
And then the telling of stories begins.
And may last till first light.
It’s the first camp of the season . . .
Photo: The fire-illuminated campsite with a touch of wave-forms added with the photo editor 🙂