Lately, when dusk falls, it finds me taking a break from the computer, folded into my rocking chair on the front porch, Belle snoozing beside me, camera at the ready, glass of wine in hand.
It's a transitional moment between day and night. The front porch faces east, so there's no dramatic sunset, just a quiet hush and shadow settling over the woods. A breeze floats through, tickling the wind chimes.
The Mexican Jays take their turn at the birdfeeder before calling it a night, relinquishing control of the feeder to the cardinal family.
Baby cardinal has turned into Punk-Rocker Teenager cardinal, full of spunk, but wary of me. Dad flies in every so often, but I haven't seen Mom lately.
I hope she's okay.
A squirrel tiptoes close to get a drink of water from our pie plate bird bath, keeping a wary eye on me. One last drink before heading to bed.
I try to quiet the voices and noises in my head so I can listen to the woods. The buzz of insects. Belle's rhythmic breathing. A peep, peep from somewhere, then, as dusk deepens, I hear the Chuck-Will's-Widow, so like a Whippoorwill's song that I mistook it for one for years.
A mosquito buzzes in my ear and I wave my magic yellow bracelet at it. Take that, sucker! The buzzing stops. It's a miracle! I'm so glad I spotted these yellow bracelets in our grocery store. It's like wearing a citronella candle, and they seem to work, if you can stand the smell. Just 99 cents. I plan to load up on them.
Belle sighs in her sleep. The shadows deepen and the buzzing gets closer. I haven't seen the cardinals in awhile. I picture Teenager snuggling into the nest between his mom and dad, not quite as tough as he wanted me to believe.
Time to go inside and get back to work.