it's magic hour and the lavender shadows contain the movements of little creatures, insects and flickering grasses, briefly flashing bright green when catching the setting sun. it will be dark here soon as the sun drops behind sally ann mountain. up on the road will still be some warmth and golden light and little sparrows flitting around in a hedgerow. filled with seedings, briars and smaller hardwoods, it stands between the upper field and the road above. sometimes i go to the top of the driveway in late afternoon to extend the day and watch the mountain go from blue to ultramarine to dark shape. i am reminded of a rule in painting: the landscape is always darker than the sky. even at night. even in a storm.
back on the deck i look out at a messy woodpile to see a chipmunk with enormous cheekfuls of pumpkin seeds scamper off toward the creek's edge and i am surprised he heads that way. i hear the chip chip chipping of a single cardinal. they are my latest feeders at twilight and the first at dawn. a female on the forest floor is hard to spot at first, but her bright red beak gives her away. my old dog heads up the ramp and waits patiently at the screen door of the cabin. but my rule is i can not go inside until the first star breaks through. i wait for it and finally it pierces the atmosphere with tiny brilliance. i turn to go in and see the cabin glowing like a halloween pumpkin...the warm piney interior will soon contain a tired labrador longing for her bed and a reluctant me anticipating a very dark night