Today ended with the slow abandon of light that only early November knows–sky blue sky and orange-bellied clouds rusting into purple, finally sinking into almost-black with yawning stars and a buttermilk moon. For maybe five or eight minutes before dark settled in, the last gasp yellow in the woods became intense, reflecting the remnant daylight, and I thought how perfect a good-night that is, for the sky to see the beauty of its existence burn on in something else, even if only for these few moments. Deeper into the failing light, the row of 90-foot pines that demarcate the property line between our land and the forever-wild park to the west became a sharp-edged and toothy silhouette against the sky, swallowing the gray of the hardwoods below. The gabble and short wail of geese on the windless lake beyond the pines echoed as they settled into the surface to float for the night. Jays, crows, chickadees, sparrows, finch fell silent. Squirrel and chipmunk had given up their forage-running, while a red fox began–low-carried shoulders and busy nose leading its fantastic tail out of the tall grass, crossing the creek below my stand before trotting off out of sight. I knew the morning would return this gorgeous story in reverse. And in that moment, I warmed in the blanket-dark, insulated by an entire universe drawn close and then closer still. 20-feet above the ground and climbing, I warmed, knowing there was still more of this gorgeous story to come before the morning.



Filed under In the woods


  1. G$

    Thank you. I needed that. Gorgeous, Matt.

  2. Eric English

    Had to think about yawning stars and wondered if you saw this before or after you fell off the tree stand! -Midlothian, VA

  3. I much prefer watching the woods/marsh wake up. Those precious moments before sunrise, those 5-8 mins, stir me. No doubt. But give me a sunset like you describe while I’m fishing (especially on the ice) and my soul can’t get more satisfied. I felt like I was that red fox while reading. Right there with you. Thanks for sharing.

    • fishingpoet

      I agree, there’s something about the day breaking that’s fantastic – opportunity presenting itself as opposed to coming to a close. But to me, the day’s end is indicative of why we spend the time outside in the first place. Putting the world to bed (with the handful of nocturnal animal exceptions) gives me a perspective that’s not unlike being a parent. There’s a solitude, pride and closeness that comes with the responsibility.

      Thanks for the shout, brother. Be well!

  4. Beautiful as always. Great post.


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