Now I hear all the dogs on the next street barking furiously. I'll bet that the raccoons have made their way back there. If I were a dog, I'd be very wary of the raccoons. They have fearsome claws. My cats all learned to keep a safe distance from these beasts, and never challenge them. I think that Sunni may have had a run-in with a raccoon once, on an occasion when she did not return home for three days. When she finally showed up, she had some nasty claw marks down her back and was moving gingerly, as though recently injured. She was dirty and bedraggled, and smelled of automobile tire, and I think she had taken refuge in the wheel well of a car after her confrontation, remaining there while she recovered sufficiently to make her way home. After that, she frequently growled when raccoons were around, warning the other cats of the danger. Those dogs should learn to be more circumspect. Raccoons are not to be messed with.
The night has cooled nicely again. It is one of the best things about this time of year. The days may frequently recall August, but the nights anticipate November. The katydids fall silent early, leaving a quiet disturbed only by an occasional rustle of leaves or passing car or barking dog. The waxing moon is now slightly gibbous, brightening the first hours of night, then settling among the pines to etch their intricate web, black against midnight blue and one patch of white light. Once the moon has set, Orion now rides high in the east, running ahead of Venus. It is pleasant to watch the early autumn sky, when the night air is bracing but not yet cold. I would have this time serene nights stretch on for weeks, but the weather will have its way. It might be like this through November, or we might tumble into a stormy autumn, chill and damp, with windblown clouds obscuring the sky. Either way, I am glad that sultry summer is gone. It has always been for me a season most enjoyable in memory or anticipation. Summer is most appealing in winter, and winter in summer. Autumn is best when it is here.