vendredi, août 12, 2011

The (scary) music of the night

Last night was the first one in which I had slept alone in our house.

Right now it's a series of open rooms, bounded only by beams and two by fours. Eventually the wood will be covered with drywall. Wires will be run. Pipes will tunnel up the wall to the second story.

Light will keep out the night.

But for now, it's just a few lamps that a visitor sees as he or she drives up, the radiance peeping through the brown frame.

Inside, to be candid, it's a little eerie. The two lamps illuminate for a distance, then they give in to the shadows, and the moonlight. Above me, the loft is empty -- a large space for me and two felines.

I had a friend over last night. After they left, I got ready for bed, brushed my teeth and read for a while. Then I turned off the lights. After all, the cats would protect me, wouldn't they?

A heck of a lot of help they were at 4:30 in the morning, when a loud noise woke me up.

At first I thought it WAS one of my furred companions. When they started walking through the empty rooms, I figured out that it wasn't.

Hard to describe the sound. The closest I can come is that of a cough -- it went on for five or ten or maybe 15 minutes.

I live in the exurbs. I should be used to these noises -- but this wasn't one I had heard a lot before.

And, oh, why did I watch "Jane Eyre" a few nights ago? Fortunately, there wasn't much room in the attic for a madwoman. And if she was up there, I would have seen her.

I confess that I sat there shaking, imagining large animals outside -- trying to get inside. It took a while before the cats calmed themselves.

Eventually, I pulled out a book, and read until light began to steal through the trees in the backyard -- thank goodness for dawn.

Pulling a sweater over my head, I went for a walk, through meadows glimmering with dew, and alive with birds and rabbits. How tame the neighborhood looked in the warming light --how familiar.

I just hope I remember that sense of familiarity in the darkness -- night is, as we know, a strange country.

It does have its pleasures -- but they are for those complicit in the magic of the night. And they do not include playing in the backyard under the light of the moon -- unless one does it in company.

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