Nature Night

by Joseph Mazelin, 12 | Mar 1, 2022 | 0 comments

weasel in log
Weasel. Photo © Dreamstime.com.

“Don’t stay out longer than eight o’clock,” Mom reminded us as we headed out the door.

This was the night of the Geminid meteor shower, and my brother and I were going out to watch it. Once outside, we found Dad gazing up into space. “I just came out a little bit ago, and a falling star caught my eye. I stopped to watch, and in the meantime I saw five falling stars,” he informed us.

“Yes, tonight there is a meteor shower, and we’re coming out to watch it,” I answered.

“Well, would you have time to take some spray foam and fill those mouse holes in the chicken house first? That weasel already got three chickens,” he said.

After our job was done, we lay down, facing toward the east. The dew felt cool beneath us at first. There was a slight east breeze, and we could hear the traffic on the nearby interstate. It was almost perfect for watching stars—except that the moon was a little bright. It was around 40° F. (4° C.), but we guessed it would be in the twenties the next morning.

Presently we heard the eerie “sshhh” of a Night Hawk. “If I wouldn’t know what was making that sound, I’d probably be scared,” my brother said jokingly.

Some geese winged on ahead, making only swishing sounds with their wings and an occasional honk. In a nearby tree, a Barred Owl hooted dismally. In the distance, its mate answered with wild hoots.

We continued to talk about some wild animal, occasionally commenting about a bright meteor, all the while enjoying the fresh air and the cool breeze. Eight o’clock came all too soon, and we trudged unwillingly back to the house, fully persuaded that the stars can be enjoyed without a telescope.

Ten minutes later we were both in the land of deep sleep, though many “stars” were falling above our roof. In our dreams there were many falling stars, far more than in reality falling through the star-lit sky.

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