129twigandvine_crescent_moon photography © Sue Schlabach

“You do not have to sit outside in the dark.

If, however, you want to look at the stars,

you will find that darkness is necessary.

But the stars neither require nor demand it.”

—Annie Dillard

I like to sit in the dark when I can. Let my eyes adjust and see what appears. The fireflies have arrived, blinking on and off above the unseen meadow grass.

Last night we drove home at dusk (9:15, this time of year). The tops of trees were razor sharp against the gloaming.

As we rose and fell in elevation on a hilly and windy back road, silhouettes entered and dropped away from the screen that was the sky, all in crisp relief: The tip of the church tower, its belfry in view and then its bell; a cawing crow; branches of a huge old sugar maple.

They came, they went, replaced by the next shapes and lines. At times the sky became a mirror on water, and then back to deep blackness, lacking detail and dimension, as if all the world was cut with nimble scissors from black paper.

The fattening sliver of moon followed us home and hung out above our own crisp line of trees as we pulled in the drive. A single firefly flashed.