Tuesday morning, July 10, 3:40-4:40 a.m.
A waning moon, still over half-full, rises over the meadow, giving a cinematic “day-for-night” effect to the landscape. The eastern woods form a dark mass beyond the meadow, but moonlit willows bordering the no-name creek to the north show complicated depths, with light branches reaching out beyond featureless background expanse. There is even the slightest grey-green color to the willows, the moon is that bright.
Overhead are stars—not as many visible as on a moonless night, but still too many to count—and between constellations stream slight, gauzy scarves of the Milky Way. The limitless sky seems a star-pricked, domed vault, fading to a light glow at the rim of the bowl that is the horizon.
A very light breeze drifts gently from the east, as if it blows from the moon itself, cool and sweet. Once the wings of a bird beat by, close, no more than 12 feet from the ground. A single cricket chirps and then falls silent, while from very, very far off, from time to time, a dog barks. More as a feeling than a sound comes some low, mysterious, distant rumbling, like thunder many miles away, but the sky is clear and cloudless and remains so.
When the moon is finally above the farmhouse, the metal roof of the house and barns glow white against the dark of everything else, tilted planes of white seeming to detach and lift up like spaceships into the cool air. With the moon’s ascendancy, the stars fade, those nearer the horizon disappearing entirely.