Special to the OBSERVER
It has been said "electricity kills the dark, candle light illuminates it." I think the same can be said of moon light. So, one night in mid-summer with the moon to guide me, I went out to explore the garden. As any naturalist will tell you, what you find is as different as night and day. Those familiar day time creatures: birds, bees and butterflies have all gone to bed with the setting of the sun. Toads, moths, bats and owls have replaced them.
I remember one misty night in July when a hoard of small white moths hovered like a fractured ghost over the monarda (bee balm). Was this a mating ritual or just a food orgy? Two rows over, far too many 2 inch dastardly slugs were chowing down on my potato leaves! A pair of scissors soon doubled the number and put an end to the depredation.
Most memorable was the eerily quiet, gliding flight of two barn owls over the moonlit pond like the ghosts of long lost Hurricanes from WW II. The bark of a fox, ungodly screech of a coon, cough of a deer and the howls and yips of coyote all travel far on the still, damp night air.
Humans are truly creatures of sight and being in the dark, even if moon lit, put us at a disadvantage. We are uneasy; not at home. What is out there in the dark, just beyond our seeing but alive in our imagination?
As this year's spring season continues to warm, venture out at night and enjoy the change in the landscape that you know so well during the daytime. Or you may be like the birds, bees and butterflies that feel it is best to head for bed where we belong, all safe and sound.
By M.L. Wells, Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener