The sky was night-dark above and to the east, though in the west she still shone pale, a bluer hue against which the trees sihouetted black. Just above the treeline, the Evening Star, Venus herself, burned like a little moon, chasing after the vanished sun. To the west rose the true moon, swollen almost to full, and over my head the faint stars of the Great Spoon began to peek through. Occasionally, high above, a small black shape would flit across.
The night breeze, gentle as a child’s breath, was as warm and as humid as betokened an evening scant days past Midsummer’s. The fireflies danced in the air, and in the grass, the beetles crawled and rasped. Cricketsong was loud as a rapid stream, creaking from all sides. Out in the distance a dog was barking, its rough voice echoing as it passed along its ceaseless Morse-code messages.
I stepped carefully across the yard, the hose coiled in my arm, letting coils feed out across the grass towards the tomatoes. It was a night where everything felt alive. It was that in-between time that the Celts so loved, that time not fully night and not fully day, where the very air tingles and the veil is thin.
I bent to adjust a paving stone, and as I rose, something thrummed past my ear. A large beetle, perhaps, or a small bat.
I ran out of hose just short of the tomato patch. For a moment I turned, shaking the coils out behind me, making sure they were straight. Then I held out the hose and pressed the nozzle. The spray of tepid water hissed forth–but only momentarily, the jet wilting and dying like a poisoned tree. Confused, I turned again, and found the hose kinked into a knot, where only moments before I had been sure it was straight.
Fae mischief, no doubt.
With a long-suffering sigh, I shook out the hose again, and fought down the fantasies of planting rowan trees all about the yard. Faint strains of music, perhaps from some neighbor’s house, twined through the night. Above me, brighter, the Great Sickle swung, and the Dragon curled around the Pole Star.
The leaves were long, the grass was green,
The hemlock-umbels tall and fair,
And in the glade a light was seen
Of stars in shadow shimmering.
Tinuviel was dancing there
To music of a pipe unseen,
And light of stars was in her hair,
And in her raiment glimmering. –Tolkien