Posts Tagged ‘night’

We’re entering the darkest week of the year in Nova Scotia, when each day is less than nine hours in length.  This morning, the sun rose at 7:45, almost two hours after I set out for a walk along the Salt Marsh Trail. 

I often walk in the dark with the intention of seeing the sun rise while out in the middle of nature.  If you’ve never risen early and braved the elements outside in the pre-dawn light, you’re missing a wonderful experience.  It’s one that engages all the senses. 

Too often, we really only on our eyesight.  We only trust what we can see directly in front of us, and fail to engage our other senses when confronted with the unknown.

Walks in the darkness make us perk our ears more.  The scent of trees in the mist and the sounds of waking birds and rushing tide waters all add to our perception of place and time. 

Even on moonless nights, white objects stand out in the darkness.  I wondered what creature attacked this seagull when I came across these feathers on my walk yesterday morning.  A coyote?  Not knowing what’s lurking in the darkness is part of life’s adventure.  The challenge of facing our fears, whether real or imagined, shouldn’t prevent us from moving forward along the trail.

On this morning’s walk, the light drizzle soon changed to pouring rain.  The droplets were caught by the flash of the camera and capture a bit of the magic that is felt at this special time of day when most are still asleep and warm in their beds. 

The quotation below is from Canadian portrait photographer, Yousuf Karsh. Although digital photographs no longer require darkness for their development phase, his words still hold true.

Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness.
~ Yousuf Karsh

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For ages humans have wondered about the effects of a full moon on the planet.  If tides are at their highest (and lowest) during this phase, wouldn’t anything that has a high water content, such as plant and animal life, be affected too?

Supposedly, timber isn’t harvested in tropical rainforests during a full moon as sap rises in the trees at that time.  This phenomena attracts death-watch beetles, insects known to destroy timber.  Does sap rise in the trees here too during a full moon?

There are nights when the wolves are silent, and only the moon howls.

~ George Carlin

Since a full moon is ten times brighter than a crescent moon, one would assume that nocturnal wildlife has more light with which to forage and hunt during the night hours.  However, raccoon hunters often find their prey less active on full moon nights and some deer hunters believe that deer are actually more active at noon during a full moon.  Despite all the research that’s been done, animal and human activity during this moon phase is still a mystery.

The two photos above were taken at 6 am this morning while the photo below was taken an hour later, half an hour before sunrise.  It looks more like the sun than the moon is peeking out from behind the trees. 

Full moons occur every 29.5 days and the next one will be on New Year’s Eve.  Since it will be the second full moon of the calendar month, it will be what’s known as a ‘blue moon,’ an event that occurs, on average, once every three years.

When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the creator.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

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porcupineDo you ever get the feeling you’re being watched?  If you’re in the woods, you probably are.  The wild things are there and just because you don’t see them, doesn’t mean they don’t see you. 

It’s not so bad in the daytime, but once darkness falls, the idea that there are faces watching you from behind the leaves and branches can make you feel uneasy.  My grandmother used to say that there was nothing in the dark that wasn’t there when there was light.  It’s true.  Once the sun goes down, good is still good and evil is still evil. 

What does change is opportunity for those that prefer to work under cover of darkness.  I’d feel less at ease walking some city streets at night than the deep woods.  Many animals are nocturnal and just happen to go about their regular business when the rest of the world is sleeping.   Any encounter with them is likely accidental, but they do have their territories, just as we have ours.

At any time of day, to tread into the wilderness when all is quiet makes one feel at peace and at one with the world in a way that few experiences can duplicate.  I don’t worry about the things that watch me through the leaves.  They’re more afraid of me than I am of them.  Afraid that I’ll take my sunflower seeds back…

squirrel eating sunflower seeds

I am treading deeper and deeper into leaves and silence. I see more faces watching, non-human faces. Ironically, I who profess no religion find the whole of my life a religious pilgrimage.
~  Loren Eiseley

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