VENUS & JUPITER
The dry season is starting to bite here with afternoon temperatures often in the high 90s, with stiff, bone-dry breezes. Things smell dusty during the day but when the sun sets the air cools and moistens as Clay-colored Robins and Melodious Blackbirds call and call, until the Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls take over and stars appear.
For the last month or so, back toward the west, each early evening the two brightest objects in the night sky, other than the Moon, have been drawing closer and closer, and now they're side-by-side, paired Evening Stars. But, they're too bright to be stars and they reside on the ecliptic -- the path followed by the Moon and Sun -- so obviously they're planets, not stars. They're so bright that I've been assuming they were Venus and Jupiter, and that's what my old Space Explorer computer program confirms, plus it says that Jupiter's "apparent magnitude" is -2.2, and Venus's is a dazzling -4.3. The smaller the magnitude number, the brighter the object. By comparison, the sky's brightest star, Sirius, is only -1.6.
When Venus and Jupiter form in the night sky and the air turns cool and moist, a dizzying perfume from the flowers of an undetermined plant seeps into the air around the hut. I could track down the plant to see who it is, but somehow on these nights the plant's identity isn't important. What's important is to experience the moment exactly as it is, exactly right now.
For the last month or so, when Venus and Jupiter appeared, that's when I've been walking my Estonian lady friend Malle home. With palm trees silhouetted against the starry sky above us, we feel the night's moist softness and smell the fragrance, but neither says anything about it, and I like that about her. Confronted with things as they are, what else, really, needs to be said?
If you place the back of a flashlight to your forehead and beam the light into the woods, you see dozens of bright little glistens all around. They're reflections from wolf-spider eyes as the spiders roam the forest floor.
You don't need a flashlight to see the bright yellow fire of fireflies and glowworms. Sometimes glowworms are hard to sneak up on, but other times you can get on your hands and knees and put your nose right up next to them and see them, their legs scrambling across curled-leaf surfaces, their oval bodies silhouetted inside their slow-moving little yellow orbs of self-made light.
There are crickety sounds and maybe the Peacock screaming once or twice from a tree at the hotel next door, traffic noise from half a mile away, the crunches of our feet on the ground, the rustling sound of clothing rubbing skin, and the whisper of our own breathing.
This story has no beginning or end, but just is.
What else, really, needs to be said?