Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 18: Monhegan weekend, first night

The first of two nights on Monhegan Island for the weekend. I went to bed sated by a day of perfect weather, dozens of birds flitting through the trees, hours of walking on trails winding past blossom-laden apple trees and lilacs, the great company of friends old and new, and a good supper. The night was chilly but I left my windows open so I could hear the sound of the waves crashing and the foghorn over on Manana. Also, so that in the morning I'd awaken at first light to bird song. I crawled into my sleeping bag happy and, unusual for me, fell asleep right away.

My cabin is a separate building from the one that contains the bathroom, so in the middle of the night I was forced to traipse across the dewy lawn. When I looked up, however, I was glad that I'd had to go outside. The night sky was clear and full of stars, unimpeded by light pollution so far offshore. In fact, it was a challenge to make my way 20 yards across the lawn. So late at night, the stars looked out of place, and I had to re-orient myself with the Big Dipper, which was tipped up in a different direction than when I saw it much earlier in the evening. My first thought was how beautiful and rare it is these days to see the sky like that. My second thought was that this clear sky means birds are migrating, and some of them will find the island at dawn so that I can hopefully find them.

Late night, glasses off--
swarms of stars blur overhead,
guiding birds northward.

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