It’s 6:50 pm and dusk is turning to darkness. I’ve come in from my art-play perch by the creek, and bring Pips inside with me. She would have preferred moving indoors just as the sun dipped below the mountain, but I try to keep us both outside until dark.
I have guidelines designed to keep us from going too bed too early. Neither Pippa or I get under the covers for a couple more hours and I drink one more glass of water so I need to go outside once more before bed. There’s no point going to sleep if you know you have to get up in an hour!
I usually have a list of things to do once inside, and I get organized beforehand. Tonight I write this blog for posting tomorrow, and will finish a little painting. Pippa chews a bone, but I know she is counting the minutes till the covers get pulled back.
I listen to a playlist featuring classical and Spanish guitar. My speaker connects music on my phone music by Bluetooth, so I don’t need cell service to listen. The wireless speaker holds a charge for a couple of weeks so doesn’t use my battery. Having music at night really works for me. It’s relaxing, and different than what I do during the day. It also provides a pleasant distraction from any noises I might not recognize after dark.
It helps to know you won’t always recognize sounds out here, and you will be exposed to many. Your brain will immediately make the worst of it, drawing on every horror movie you ever watched, but over time you discover nothing seems to come of it that is any consequence to you, so you begin to construct scenarios to explain them.
I currently turn to imagining an old bunny-couple bickering about sex or whose turn it is to clean up the pellet pile. There is just enough truth in it to be believable – bunnies do make some god-awful sounds- and just silly enough to make me laugh instead of cringe. Surely, a long marriage and hundreds of children might result in some passionate boundary setting on occasion.
I also think of each animal having a variety of dialects, only a small number of which are spoken when humans are present. When tucked away in the van, I imagine they feel free to speak their native languages freely. Turkeys, owls and deer definitely have different languages that cover a full range of expression: attraction, distress, alert, pain, curiousity. Just like we do. When I hear a noise I don’t know, I imagine myself in the most diverse of communities, where I don’t understand most of the languages yet. I think about becoming more fluent.
I haven’t put up window coverings. There is no one nearby, so privacy is a moot point. If someone did see me reading or writing, I’d survive the intrusion. It’s a mild night, I don’t need the insulation and most of all I have full view of the stars when I open my eyes. There is just something about that.
I soaked my feet tonight while art-ing, and when I came in, rubbed them with cream. I’ve been wearing socks the last couple of days and they are feeling less angry and raw. The desert is really hard on my feet.
After a great day visiting the public buildings and going on a short hike to the vista point, I did go to dinner at the research centre. There were about 20 of us waiting outside, and promptly at dinner hour, the cook came out and rang the real dinner bell!
Dinner is buffet style; rice and beans, jambalaya, salad, corn bread, brownies and coffee, tea and lemonade. It is all you could eat, and for $12, a good value. But is was really of value is the many interesting people, half of whom work at the research centre and half who are visitors. All have great passion for nature and for this area in particular. The depth and breadth of knowledge is both humbling and inspiring.
The Leprechaun is there too, but in the today’s light seems somewhat less mysterious. Others don’t seem to recognize him as such, but I learn he has quite a cover-story as one who takes people on walking tours of the back-country in Wales. Ah-huh. Sure you do. I enjoy great conversation with a variety of fascinating people and head back to camp dark. They tell me about a folk- dancing event on the weekend, and I consider maybe staying longer.
It may not be an option to leave yet anyway. I’ve been searching for the exit and can’t seem to find it anywhere….