Midnight Ramble

This place is made of stories that struck me shiny and, magpie like, I lined my blog/nest with them. Today, I buzzed about Springtime happy, then caught up with the The Rejectionist. You must read her most recent post, if for no other reason than the last line is pure BRILLIANCE. In addition to the brilliant last line, I found this. My mood thusly reoriented, I set off with my dogs for a twilight ramble around the nearest woodland pond. I will continue to ramble.

Tonight was the first warm night. My blood has thinned, and like a lizard needs a hot rock, I need the warmth to move, to live. I wasn’t the only one so affected; crickets and cicadas and frogs and toads and mockingbirds all sang a song for joy at the return of the Southern heat. The day’s hot sun set the smells free, too. Spicy onion grass, sweet fruit blossom and juicy fresh cut grass mingled along with the rising scent of asphalt on my street. But they were just a prelude for the pond, which has sat cold and flavorless throughout the long winter. Somehow I’d forgotten the way a pond smells during the summer, and once having met it again, I couldn’t believe I’d misplaced the memory.

I let Tom Foolery and Shenanigans off leash and they raced off, kicking up dust behind them. Even the dirt smelled alive. A fish leapt and landed with a splash. I’ve never actually seen one leap. I only ever see the ripples. For all I know it could be tiny aliens falling from the sky and landing in the pond, but I go ahead and presume it’s fish jumping.

Magic nights don’t come along everyday, and this one took me back to the best one of all. I thought about a night, a year and a half ago now, and how I wish I could tell its story. I’ve tried, many times. It started with a black man singing the blues as he walked down Queen Street. In the middle there was Ray Charles’ “What I’d Say” on a turntable in a ramshackle house covered in kudzu. It’s doors and windows were open. Red paisley sheets hung in the spaces, shining red-gold from the light and the music inside. It ended with a walk past the horse pasture on Main Street. It was true night by then, only the faintest bit of blue on the horizon. The horses, as they always do, felt something in the air. I watched them trot and snort and toss their heads, as they cast strange silhouettes up on the hillside. In between I saw a cloud of swallows erupt from the green metal roof of a rotting house, long since abandoned, along with bullfrogs and dogs and all sorts of things. It’s probably the best night I’ve ever known, and I don’t think I’ll ever do it justice.

But tonight wasn’t too shabby. I’ll take it. I wonder, what would a woman do without two dogs and some woods at hand? I suppose the question is particular to me. What would this woman do without two dogs and some woods at hand? It would be a lesser life to live.

One thought on “Midnight Ramble

  1. Becky says:

    I love the imagery. Great writing. We’re also under a hot spell, feels more like summer than spring. I spent an hour down at the pony yesterday because my boy HAD to go fishing. With crickets in tow, sweat on my brow, it ended up a two shower day. I had to take the hook out of a fish that swallowed it, hard work. The hook went in the eye of another, through the nose of several . . . fishing isn’t for wimps. As the hour wore on I think nature forgot we were there, out of the woods came a very large muskrat, and it slid into the pond. Swam with the top half of his visible, then dove in the water exposing his very, very large/long tail. Pretty cool!

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