One of the most magnificent features here at MisFit Farm is, oddly enough, another something we lack. We lack one of the hallmarks of Western Civilization. We lack the standard by which the quality of most neighborhoods is judged. Well sure, we basically lack neighbors, but more importantly, we lack street lights.
What we lack results in an amazing abundance of dark night sky.
Magnificent is almost big enough to capture how truly amazing the sky is out here. I can step out onto the back deck on a clear night and swim in the swirl and thrum of the galaxy. Orion and Sirius’ watchful gaze stand against the south sky. The big dipper pours over our pond. Cephus and Cassiopeia twirl and dance overhead. The night sky here can be so overwhelming in its expanse and its embrace; I will admit having been brought to tears on occasion.
While the stars create their own light show above, the darkness at ground-level is thick and soupy. Discerning pathways and trees is an exercise in shadow-boxing. No matter how large a silhouette, a black Great Dane can become completely invisible in a dark like this.
We learned this the hard way. Unthinking, we let Thomas out to pee last night and immediately lost him. It is not immediately apparent, but Thomas has only a small white stripe on the underside of his chest. The rest of him: pure black. Black as coal. Black as a shadow. Black as night at MisFit Farm.
We stood on the front porch, calling his name and hoping for the best. Unlike the other boys, he can’t be tracked by the sound of a urine stream, since he has more of a spray/sprinkle effect. Maybe it was only a matter of minutes. When you are holding your breath with only the night sky to witness your stupidity, moments can drag on for an eternity. We heard him before we were able to see him, the jangle of his rabies tag and his toenails clicking on the sidewalk. We could have danced there under the stars, we were so relieved to have his big goofy head bump against us for a pet.
This morning, we re-evaluated his collar selection. We dug through the spare collar bin and found something in a nice reflective red. Not so great for the camera, but a tremendous help in keeping tabs on a big, black boy with a need to frequently wade out into the star-filled night.