In the summer, the sun stays up late into the evening. When it finally goes down, we light a lamp or two, or even just a couple candles, and sit out on the stoop to watch the moon rise.
The evening sky is full of june-bugs, mosquitos, bats, moths, bright, early stars, and the moon, which is full now, rising up into all that busy life. Seth plays guitar often in the evenings. The kids have little ukuleles and they play along with him.
Our kids tend to go to bed around 7:30 in the summer. We say night-prayers, and then settle into our beds, while either Seth or I read aloud from the Bible and a storybook. Right now, we’re reading The Silver Chair for the second time. Before that, we read ‘A Cricket in Times Square’, but since the kids (primarily Yarrow) pick the books, we’ve read such a huge variety: The Old Man and the Sea, Travels with Charlie, The Hobbit, The Prydain series, All of Narnia, A Hidden Magic, Adam of the Road… It’s fun to see what catches their interest and which stories become a living part of their imaginations.
Even with all the lamp burning, night time is not ideal for cleaning.
Dishes washed after dark tend to be a bit less clean, it isn’t easy to see well enough to scrub anything properly. I do tidy a bit after bedtime, but I do so knowing it will look less than perfect in the morning light. Instead, we try to use this time creatively. Reading, writing, editing, sketching, talking, and sometimes just sitting back with a well-charged dvd player, a big bowl of popcorn, and a couple episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
July nights we do much of this just outside the door, gardens all around and rustling sounds in the trees behind us. After sunset we can hear coyotes howling, foxes calling, owls hooting, and sometimes a wildcat too close for comfort. Outside, the night is very rarely silent. Too many things are awake in the darkness behind us.
It used to unnerve me, but now I feel at home under my trees at night. I feel like one of many creatures at peace with the dark.