jcsteadman · 25 days ago

The wall is up. It's finished. My view is no longer. I stood last night looking out onto that wall, that thorn in my paw which I can't get out, hands on hips and arms akimbo in my pyjamas. Staring.

It was a bright moon, far from full, but it was still very powerful - the parasol lodged into the pile of sand nearby to shade the workers during the creation of cement created a distinct shadow onto the ground below. It was a lunar landscape; the pale light of the moon casting it's rays strongly to the earth below. I shifted my focus from the wall to that of the parasol's shadow.

It made me laugh, for whatever reason, quietly to myself. A beach parasol, in a pile of sand, creating a distinct and strong shadow at 9 or 10 at night. It just seemed so absurd.

I went back into the dark house, having turned off all the lights earlier in preparation for sleep and heard an amazing sound outside. It was a bird of some kind - maybe even a bat, I'm not sure. It certainly made a lot of commotion, it and it's friends in the neighbouring bushland. The reason why I thought it may have been a bat was because it made noises in the same kind of pattern I've seen bats do back at home. Constant little chirps, barely audible to the ear and certainly not so if you're not concentrating on it, to help them find bugs in the night - echolocation, I think it's called.

Well, this bird made the noises in the same kind of pattern, except I could hear clearly the noise it was making. Incredibly loud and constant as it darted around outside. I only saw it twice, tracking its location in the sky from the noise it was making. Popping above the tree line to make some dazzlingly quick turns mid-air, it made itself visible until it returned into the murky blue/black of the trees in the background. This is why it left me wondering whether it was a bird or a bat - I had always thought the noises bats made weren't very audible to humans. Either way, it was quite a thing to witness as I stood on the little patio between the kitchen and master bedroom. Little response calls could be heard throughout the forest as the one near my house was getting it's fill. I would say this lasted about 15 minutes or so.

Heading back in, and sliding the screen door closed behind me, I caught glimpse of a bright light. It must be the farmers next door in the rubber plantation, I thought to myself, as they're often out there during the night with their flashlights. I can only assume they're looking for something to eat which only comes out at night, otherwise why bother? By any rate, I turned thinking it was one of the farmers on their rounds. However, it wasn't.

I looked at the little light and immediately recognised what I saw - I jumped to the table in front of me, grabbing my glasses, and turned quickly to follow the slowly moving light, knowing all too well it could disappear as easily as it came. It was a lighting bug. A big fat lighting bug, intermittently flashing as it crossed from one side of the yard to another. I had a grin on my face which nothing could wipe off as soon as I confirmed what I saw.

The last time I can recall seeing a lightning bug was at my grandparents house in the Philippines when I was a very young boy. An ancient looking tree in the front yard which had thick, drooping branches was a beacon for the things for whatever reason, and every night hundreds of lighting bugs would flicker en masse within its leaves. It was a year-round Christmas tree, enchanting in every way possible; inspiring awe in the beauty of the thing. No one who lived at my grandparents farm house seemed to care or even notice. I would just watch for what felt like hours, but I know could've only been mere moments, as they twinkled away in the night. And, considering that there were no neighbours to speak of nor any source of lights around for kilometres, this was a sight to behold. It was like I was in a fairy tale.

And, seeing that single, solitary little lightning bug make its way across my yard brought all that rushing back to me. I hadn't thought of that night in over a decade, hence my immediate smile and the rush to get my glasses so I could see everything properly.

It meandered it's way to the other side of the lot, crossing the foundations for the next part of the wall, and finally over the drying klong (creek/river) before snuffing itself out somewhere within the leaves. I stood, the nights' breeze enveloping me as I slowly turned to go back inside, and realised that the wall wasn't the 'end' of nature in the area. When it's landscaped and trees and hedges and flowers and more are planted, there will be more life within these walls than had been there without, and that, to me, is a beautiful thing to imagine.

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