paying attention

I take the dog out for her nightly constitutional.

The evening, cool and eerily still, no heat pump running.  So silent I can hear the absence of sound.  My ears strain and I detect tiny feet walking across dry leaves, something easy to crush underfoot.

The dog has no interest in her bodily functions. She is more interested in peering into the dark dark wood.  Does she hear something? Or is the silence strange for her too?

One bright star blazes in a blue so dark that it is almost, but not quite, black.  It suspends directly over our house, blessing all those within.

Then it comes to me, the barest whisper, almost too far away — the call of a whip-poor-will.  A sound that recalls such longing.  I remember hearing whip-poor-wills as a little girl.  Our family did not have air conditioning, and we slept every night with the windows open, blankets and sheets thrown back, the night air gentling across skin.  I would drift away feeling safe and content in the night and song.

I’m not sure I can identify the bird and make a note to look it up.

Walking the dog back toward the porch, I remember how Sid and I sat there the previous evening with little tiki torches lit as the sun went down. We sat on the double rocker he bought me when I was pregnant with our first child.  Finances were tight, but I wanted it because I imagined that we would sit close together, holding our baby.

Of course, that rarely happened.  He was gone for long hours every day, working and I was up most of the night, desperate to get our small human to eat and to survive.

Here we are, 19 years later, and we can sit in the cool of the evening on this rocker on our front porch, flames dancing on the wine glass tiki torches made by that baby-grown-up.  We can talk about our hopes and plan for the future better than we could before.  I guess we grew up too.  Mostly.

It is like we are partners, after all this time, working together.  The way I had always dreamed.

I go in the house, intending to schedule more evenings on the porch with torches burning, listening for the whip-poor-will.


Some may note that this is not the season for porch-sitting.  I wrote this last year, late summer, early fall.

2 thoughts on “paying attention

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