I forget sometimes to go outside at night.
“At night.” What a strange phrase that is, but true. Night is a different place. And I can go weeks without being there- maybe I walk from my car to the front door, or the restaurant.
But I don’t go there. Smell it. Night smells different, rocky and deep. I can especially smell it when I go out on my back deck- the harbor is below me, but there are trees all around. Some of them I planted, some of them I fought for and they exhale into the night air with more freedom, more dream, than they do in the daytime. You can smell it, especially from my deck, and the bangs and train sounds from the harbor don’t matter at all. The moon does. The clouds’ drift does, white against blackest blue.
There are animals out there. I know because it was the raccoons who got me back out here in the first place. They have been knocking down my hummingbird feeder and drinking from it at night. I saw it before dawn, a coon on his hind legs, paws grabbing the feeder, belly pale, mask dark. When I turned on the kitchen light he didn’t give a fuck. Sugar, man. Liquid sugar.
The next day the feeder was askew and empty in the morning. I refilled it.
The next night I was awoken by the sound of the dog door being nosed, in and out. In and out.
Tonight I brought the hummingbird feeder in before bed, and locked the dog door. And I stood on the deck and thought: Night smells different. Wetter, thicker, wilder than day. It is good to go out into the night and notice. It is good to be called, by small and large dangers, out of the kitchen and into the gorgeous night.