Five o'clock. The sky turns cerulean and stars wink out as the town begins emerging. Trees grow more detailed. Those to the south shelter the low half moon, which appears to flicker amid the burgeoning foliage as I walk out to fetch the morning paper. A single owl hoots again and again. An early-rising neighbor's porch light flashes on, and down the block a door closes. Others awake to this deep blue. I prepare to close my drapes and hold on to what remains of the fading night. It was pleasant. The frogs sang late, and I heard ducks fly over. A big, gray tabby cat visited my yard, but did not stop to socialize. Mostly, there was quiet, except for the clatter of a few pine cones which dropped from nearby trees. I like these waning half-moon nights for the softness of their light. Now brightness comes, and the first birds are singing to greet it. I preferred the owl. Maybe he'll return when night falls again.
That time has arrived when splashes of color have begun to decorate the bare, gray twigs of the dogwoods. Still pale, the salmon-pink flowers will soon darken toward red, and be joined by even redder berries on which the birds will feast. The cold and rainy hiatus which interrupted the early spring has ended, and the season is back on schedule, though this mild day was overcast, the sun a blurry bright disk and its diffused light glowing gold in the silvery air. Green-leafed spikes now rise to crown the flourishing blossoms of the apple trees. All the fields are dense with fresh, sweet-scented green grasses. As evening falls, a breeze makes the soft new oak leaves rustle, and the pines respond with sighs. The overcast begins to differentiate into clusters of clouds and patches of clear, deep-blue sky where stars are revealed. It's time for the frogs to sing.