A Country Sunset

A hot, humid, Summer day is slowly fading into the sunset of evening. The heat surrenders slowly to the coolness of a Summer night; but the humidity of the day remains. A few crickets and tree-frogs have begun their evening serenades. All day long the locusts sang their long, mournful songs but, now at the first stages of sunset they are becoming silent.

In the western sky the sun is squeezing down between brilliantly colored clouds and a flat, shimmering horizon. In the evergreen trees occasional disturbances are heard. Birds are pushing and shoving one another for the best roosting places. A few bats are already airborne. Their twisting, diving flights are purposeful. They are radar-locating insects, capturing them in their wing membranes, and devouring them in flight.

As the sun continues it's descend, an owl calls from behind the barn and then is silent. Another owl answers the call from the border of a neighbor's farm. A pair of doves fly by, very low. The sound their wings produce is familiar to every country resident.

The sunset is almost complete when the howl of a dog is heard. He is most likely answering a howl, far in the distance, beyond the range of human hearing. Now, almost completely dark, the whiny of horses are heard from the meadow. They worked hard, all day and the farmer allows them outside, all night. They are fenced-in, but free to roam the whole meadow. During the night they will eat as much grass as they can hold, lie on the cool meadow grass, and drink from the cold, mountain stream.

Now, the night gives way to a new sound. The short, yelping, barks of a Gray Fox emerge from the meadow. The fox has found the scent trail of a rabbit and just like a hunting dog he is following the scent trail. It will be a short chase

As the sun sets even deeper, a doe and her Spring fawn emerge from the deep forest. The doe drinks deeply from the stream the marks the boundary between the farms. The fawn still has the protective white spots used for camouflage all Spring and Summer. The mountain stream they drink from, began as a trickle, bubbling out of the ground, on the North side of The Blue Mountain. The deer will eat the long grass growing next to the meadow.

Now, fifteen minutes into darkness, the forest is saturated with the calls of crickets, tree frogs and other insects. Their calls will continue through the night. They will lure many a restless sleeper into a peaceful, un-interrupted sleep. The full moon is just now cresting the ridge of The Stone Mountain. In less than one hour, it's position in the sky, will allow it, to bath the entire country-side in a luminous, soft, light. Perhaps, a soft glow would better describe what is to come. For poets and lovers it will be a special night! The moon seems twice as large, as it crests The Stone Mountain summit; but, it's an optical illusion. This illusion will continue for about thirty minutes. The hot sun of the day, and it's sunset have been put to sleep by the moonrise. Peace and quite penetrate every shadow and every moonlit area.