It is a few past eleven and a storm is rolling in. The winds are building in the tree tops and along the water. Down the bluff there are whitecaps seen by faint glints of light coming from neighboring houses. There is no moon nor are there stars. Unless the tide is out all of the way, water must be crashing against the rocks below, but it can’t be seen.
The storm is coming in fast. Fifteen minutes ago I walked from the other building and it was calm. I was temped to stay longer in the garden to look at the night blooming flowers, but there was an eerie feel to the air. It was not so much a chill in my spine as an overwhelming desire to be back inside. Perhaps the same unsettled energy is what hushed the frogs and halted the chirring of the insects. Or maybe what I felt was heard silence driving me indoors. Regardless, by the time I gathered my laundry and made my way upstairs the wind had begun. Now the sound of it against the cliff face and thrashing through the trees is drowning out the hollow iterations of the fog horn.
Scattered in patches of brush and trees between the well hewn banding trails mother cardinals and other nesters will be huddled against the coming rain. A night like this may promise respite from the dangers of sharp-eyed night fliers. And the rain will compliment the cranberry bogs and their swampy surrounds for the frogs. More water lends time for breeding and frantic tadpole growth. It will also pool in depressions too small for much else but healthy crops of mosquitoes. And while the adults feed on banders and other woods wanderers, they will soon become food for the swift birds, and any young that hatch in deeper water will supplement the diet of tadpoles.
But the rain is not as committed to this night as the wind. No thunder cracks through the trees or against the bluff as yet and no lightning has chosen to highlight the cloud edges. There is still time for the drops above to reconsider falling here before the wind blows itself into stillness. They may merely be waiting for a moment of peace and a vertical fall instead of a complicated, muddling sky dance. Or they may decide this watershed has not issued the proper calling and follow the wind further until they find a suitable resting place. Storms are fond of our befores and linger at our afters but they rarely pause here above us for long if at all. Who can know the mind of the rain? And who can map the lightning’s course?
...The winds blew all the same.