Several short months ago, in mid-February, with temperatures in the low teens with a couple of feet of snow on the ground and ice on the tree limbs, I opened the back door late one night to check out the darkness and cold beyond the walls of my home. The quiet was disarming but not unpleasant, the air was dry and cold on my face, and the only sound was the faint crackling of ice contracting and shifting in the darkness on the tree limbs above. Nothing stirred anywhere within earshot; it was as if all life had left the blackness that filled my eyes. Turning my head and sight upwards, the dark sky was speckled with the pale blue sparkling of distant stars and planets framed by the stark branches of trees gone bare. I stood and listened to the nothingness and let the crisp air that fell on my face convey the peacefulness of the still winter night to my senses.
Fast forward to last evening, the first day of summer. When I turned out the lights after a couple of hours tying flies and writing, I was struck at how my senses were filled with the life outside my open windows and I recalled that winter night so many months ago. I went to the back door, opened it slowly, walked out onto teh deck and listened, felt and marveled at how in a few short months the world had awakened. The frogs in the pond sang their summer songs; deep, uneven and emphatic. Crickets and other nocturnal insects chirped and sang, the sounds coming at me from every angle and direction, the number of which too high to estimate. The silhouettes of moths, craneflies and other flying insects attracted to the lights inside the house clung to the window panes like lost lovers departing on a train. Looking up, I could see patches of dark sky through the thick canopy of hardwood tree leaves. This time though, I stood and listened to the life around me and let the warm, humid air and miracle of renewed life brighten the otherwise deep shade of the night.