Late nights

microart2It’s after 11:00 and my son is still awake asking for the closet light to be turned on so he can go to sleep. Lying in bed, I am listening to the breathing of husband and daughter. I should take my daughter to her bed and get to sleep myself, but instead I try to type on my phone. Perhaps others have mastered this, but I have not. Nevertheless, the draft will be typed on tiny inaccurate “keys.”
In the dead of winter,there isn’t much to listen for outside, and not that I’m likely to hear anything with the windows closed. On other nights, I have listened to some amazing sounds. Last year during a late night comforting session with my toddler, I was an eavesdropper to the conversation of two great horned owls, one of whom perched on the utility pole just 15 feet from my daughter’s second story window. I could barely make out the creature’s silhouette against the moonlit sky, getting my best image as he or she swooped away. The second owl was at least a half block east. The “hoo-hoo-h-hoooo” volley lasted a half hour, and I refused to return to bed while it continued. I never expect to hear anything like it again in my life.
Late nights can provide interesting entertainment. Last July, while camping with the Cub Scout pack, I chased a raccoon out of my tent, then poked my head outside to see another helping himself to someone’s cooler and trash, all during a steady sprinkle of rain that lasted for 36 hours, the majority of the trip.
More than once, I’ve woken to the yipping of a coyote pack making their way across the open field to the east of the neighborhood, but I hear them less often now that the cul-de-sac is being filled with houses. They run in less developed areas along the creek. I’ve also listened to young male mockingbirds carry on throughout the spring nights.
Late nights can be magical, like when you catch a shower of falling meteors among the background of star, or watch the ISS sail by overhead. Late nights can be painful, waking with a sour stomach or worse, a kidney stone attack. Worrisome if your baby has a fever and won’t lie down to sleep unless you hold her in your arms all night. And some late nights are late simply because it provides a moment of peace and quiet that is otherwise non-existent.

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