Having escaped the soft vapor that dominated the eastern sky, the moon grew brighter and made the shadows bold. The sound of locusts seemed farther away tonight, as though they had withdrawn to the far side of the orchard, and the song of the last cricket was intermittent, like a clock running down. It was then that I heard the high pitched cry of a hawk-- loud, and coming swiftly from the north, repeated again and again as the bird passed overhead, unseen despite the brilliance of the moon. The disembodied sound fell, as stark as the moonlight, like a chill deeper than that of the air. So near did the call sound that I expected to hear the beat of wings as well, but never did. The cry continued as the bird flew south, fading across the dark orchard where (I imagined) small creatures hunched into the grass, frozen by instinctive fear. But these creatures, if any, remained unmolested. The bird remained aloft, hurried on its way, still crying, the sound growing faint, until it was lost in the buzz of the locusts, and no longer audible to my ears. Several seconds passed before I realized that I was holding my breath. Then, like a vole emerging from the shade of some tree root, I exhaled. I felt both a sense of relief and one of loss, and found them equally inexplicable.