Early morning half light filtering through the trees, birds singing their praises to the rising sun. Water drips from the wet leaves onto wet earth from last night’s gentle rain. Damp cool morning air washes over my bare arms, groggily I roll over and peer through the tent screen out into the wakening green world. I notice a spiderweb up in the corner of where the tarp meets the pole holding it up. Large and perfectly formed, ghost colored gossamer silken strands, painstakingly spun out into embedded concentric geometric patterns. Its small light brown and gold occupant waiting patiently in the center, all her delicate legs folded daintily beneath her abdomen. I can see tiny glistening dew drops have formed all over the web giving it an ethereal quality, other worldly, and strikingly beautiful.
I wake to the startling sound of something crashing through the jumbled dead leaves and detritus on the forest floor, I open my sleepy eyes to early morning mist with water drooping from the trees. Groggily I think “that was something big”, so I sit up to see out into the blue morning dusk. Ten feet away is a mythical moose! This is the first time I have every seen a moose, so I have been calling them, mythical for many years. He is a young male with tiny antlers just appearing, thin, muscular, and all legs. He stands taller than me, but I believe he is small for a full grown moose. He is twitchy and nervous, he knows I am there, but isn’t sure what to make of me. I watch transfixed, mesmerized, excited, all sleep immediately gone from my fascinated brain. I watch him for many long minutes, hardly daring to breath. He eventually calms when no immediate danger presents itself, and he walk a little away, turns to look at me through the tent screen, takes a few more steps. He is silhouetted in a small clearing, his dark shape outlined by a brighter area of forest. After a few more steps, he has passed out of sight in the misty blue half light of predawn. I have seen a moose! Later when I actually get up, there are moose prints next to the tent platform where he was walking under the tarp when he startled and jumped into the dead leaves that woke me up. How many times has he passed this way before?
Darkness, lantern turned off, listening to water dripping from the sodden trees. It is dry under the tarp, although the air is humid and the blankets feel damp. I hear night noises, quiet rustling and whispering shuffles out in the forest. I am contemplating the darkness of the nighttime world when I see a flash of tiny yellow light. It flashes several times more, I realize there is a lightening bug sitting on the outside of the tent. I see another on the other side. These two fireflies showing off their glowing tails in an effort to attract a mate. I am a silent spectator, watching with fascination, as a third firefly flies in toward the tent. I can not see the actually insects themselves, only the random yet rhythmic flashing of their tails. Its my own little personal fireworks show in the dry space under the tarp.
Back in my tent up in the Adirondacks (yes that is three mountain ranges in three days), sleeping fitfully, keep waking and thinking it is near dawn, first light, try to go back to sleep for an hour or so before I need to get up. This happened several times before my sleep deprived and groggy mind realized that I can not have woke up this many times in the early early glow of first light, it just doesn’t last that long. Oooohhhh, right, its the near full moon light filling the forest with that blue glow, a false dawn that confused my half asleep brain. I watch the trees in the silvery light for a few timeless minutes, then let go and finally fall asleep.