I just came inside from sitting on my swing between our house and the edge of the woods, looking down the valley to Mt. Mansfield. The sun had set and the perfect first quarter moon seemed to sit just above the ridge in a luminous blue sky. My dog lay at my feet, and everything was perfectly still.
So still that I heard the approach of a flock of Canada Geese as though they were flying over the beaver ponds just down the road. But when I finally got my eyes on them, they were high, very high, a single line of maybe a hundred, moving quickly, probably aiming for the fields along Lake Champlain for the night. I wondered where they would be tomorrow at this time, and what would pass beneath their wings before they saw Vermont again.
Then a tiny bat skittered across the air before me. It came right over to me, close to my face for just an instant, just long enough that I could see its eyes looking at me. Then it flicked away. I thought the days were too short and the air too cold for bats -- they hibernate in deep caves for the winter. We've already had several frosts and even snow flurries in the air. But this lone bat was not yet ready for sleep. I watched it diving for the last of the bugs until it got too dark to see it any longer.
Then my dog and I came inside.