All night I watched the dim clouds gather and thicken as damp chill entered the air. There is a good chance that I will waken to the sound of raindrops today. If so, the rain will have washed away the hoof prints of the deer I startled when I went out to fetch the newspaper. As I neared the driveway, I turned on my flashlight to see where the paper had landed, and then I heard the clatter of hooves, and turned the light to see the retreating stag who had leapt from flower bed to street at the light's intrusion. I saw no other deer. The stag paused on reaching the far side of the road, looked back at me for a moment, then slowly proceeded south toward the apple orchard. I listened to his steps fade, but kept the light off. There is a particular sound to steps on a chill, damp night: close, yet opening limitless distance through shards of broken silence. I returned indoors, newly aware of the vast world of night.