By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers
It’s dark, very dark. We’re in a park with very few lights to distract us from appreciating our nighttime surroundings. We are cradled in silence. This is what nature camping is all about.
But wait! As we lay back in our outdoor recliners, letting go of all the cares of the day just passed, we see lights. We hear sounds.
Tiny lights are overhead, thousands of them, maybe millions, maybe billions, but who’s counting? We pick out a series of stars that we recognized from National Park ranger talks as being constellations. We never could envision all the mythical arrangements seen by Romans and Greeks thousands of years ago, but we know the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia.
Like an exercise in finding familiar figures in the clouds or focusing on the spaces between clusters of leaves, we don’t concentrate for very long on the arrangements we know but rather on the twinkling and steady shining specks across the panoply of sky. Thankfully, our moon is nowhere in sight.
And speaking of clouds, there’s that wispy area – not clouds, but the billions of stars visible in the Milky Way. That bright unsteady glow in the east is Venus; the faint orange dot is Mars.
Red flashing dots blink far away. An airplane taking businessmen to tomorrow morning’s meetings. Grandma en route to her annual visit with the kids. College students off to see friends or to lounge on blistering sand beaches. We’re 32,000 feet below them and unconditionally content not to be up there. (A few seconds of RVing-appreciation time.)
“Do you see it?” I ask. “Do you mean the satellite?” “Yes, it’s moving fast” into a misty veil. “Did you see that one?” Monique asks, “a shooting star over there.” I missed that one, but when you sit outside in a dark environment long enough, you’re bound to see a few. I remember when someoneasked a ranger why there are so many more shooting stars during the summer. “That’s when you spend more time outside,” he wisely replied.
No lightning flashes tonight. No lighting bugs west of the Rocky Mountains. Mostly stars. Dim glimmers reflect off the backs of erratically flying bats. That’s an indication that there are insects around, so we’re thankful for their presence.
The hum from the airplane that passed a minute ago finally reaches us. When we hear that, it makes us aware of other sounds. Loudest sound tonight is a cricket, which reminds us of the awful blaring chorus of cicadas that surrounded us in Prescott, Arizona, years ago. Not one of our finest evenings but quite memorable.
From somewhere behind us comes an angry momma bird, perhaps alarmed that a foreigner is approaching her nest. She can’t stand for that and lets the whole neighborhood know it.
Listening is one of the greatest joys of being outside our rig at night. We may hear water flowing from a cascading creek in the woods or rippling waves in a lake or the sea. Rustling sounds in the underbrush is always interesting. A motorcycle in the distance is acceptable because we know the disturbance will be gone in a few seconds.
It’s getting chilly. Time to fold up the recliners and go in. We did our thing. Maybe tomorrow night the next woody campground will be dark and quiet. Here’s hoping.
From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.
© All graphics by Barry Zander. All rights reserved
To the Never-Bored RVers
I always think of this scripture in the moments quite and solitude in nature. Be Still And Know That I Am God, you discovered it after a little while you hear the wind rustling the leaves and grass, a cricket, distant howl or hoot. Things you didn’t hear when you first sat down.
Then I don’t know if you remember the old Kung Fu show, the Master asked his student close your eyes and tell me what you hear. The student replies the wind, the sound of dripping water….the master replies do you not hear the grasshopper at your feet. The student opens his eyes to see. Old man, the student says, why is it that you can hear these things, the master says, young man why is it you do not.
Steve and Linda Gregory
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