the perfect night

all it took was 15 degrees on the happy side of zero and again, the night fit like a glove.  it didn’t matter that the owls were few or far between, or that the stream of vehicles out of grand marais was steady until 2100.  what mattered was the perfect ambience of a late march evening in northeast minnesota.  

i have long acknowledged that my favorite hour of any day is the shift between daylight and darkness.  it is the gloaming, the magic of crepuscular light when those things diurnal stop, and those things nocturnal begin their stirrings.  in an owl spring, the end of daylight typically means reproductive effort which means song which means detectability. 

but surely, you already know that by now.  

until the moon again appears in the evening sky, the clear nights of march and april provide a full presentation of zodiacal light, which is the fleeting glow in the western horizon caused by sunlight scattered by the detritus of  space. like so many night sky events, its show is brief but compelling viewing. when it is gone, it’s nighttime baby. 

that’s what i’m talkin’ about.  

four saw-whets in 3 hours does not seem like a lot and in fact, i had several stops where the inner voice issued its keen observations, wryly suggesting “it’s fucking dead out here tonight.” 

okay, that was my audible voice.  

if an owler is in the woods and he issues a stream of profanities and there is nobody with him does he actually issue a stream of profanities?  

of course not.  

tonight, i will make the long slog up to the end of the gunflint trail and work my way back towards last night’s starting point.  i will stop every half-mile in the windstorm/fire/fire ravaged forests and listen for life, even though the triumverate of catastrophic events have created a void in the strigidaen landscape.  

i can think of several reasons not to survey there, but know if an owl is in the woods and makes a sound and an owler is there, it will make perfect sense.


About borealbilly

i am cursed by nocturnal self-awareness. View all posts by borealbilly

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