The hermit thrush is nesting farther away this year, yet his evening song still drifts across the meadow to the porch where I sit with my journal awkwardly perched on my arm to accommodate the cat in my lap.

The bird’s new territory is at the edge of ‘my’ forty acres, which of course belong to him as much as they do to me. My ancestors have been here in southwestern New Hampshire just seventy-five years – who knows how long his line has blessed these woods and meadows with their ethereal songs?

The thrush music blends with the faint trickle of a wispy creek at the base of the granite cliff that borders my property. Later this summer, the creek will disappear underground.

There’s a spring over there somewhere; I remember it from when I was a kid, but I haven’t been able to find it lately.

These quiet waters flow over meadows and through woods, past horse pastures and chicken pens, down, down this mountain and into the rushing Ashuelot River. To my citified ears, the river sounds like distant traffic until I remember where I am.

I smile.

The cat lies purring in my lap, her paws busily kneading as she sucks on my tee-shirt, a kittenish habit I assumed she would outgrow, but which comforts her still as she approaches old age.

I am, in theory, vacuuming. But what a waste that would be of this magic time of day when dusk turns to dark, and shapes darker still move across the meadow amidst the early fireflies.

Last year I saw a fisher cat slink across the lawn — a vicious relative of the weasel  — and I often see a shadowy silver fox trotting up the lane.

Here is a star. And now another.

The owl gives fair warning to its prey. Woo hoo – hoo hooooo.

The cat jumps off my lap and hurries to the door.

Night falls.

Night Falls

Night Falls

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