I turned on a hot water faucet Saturday night but there was only cold water available. Either the propane tank was empty, or the pilot light was out on the water tank. To assuage my worries, I made a trip to the propane tank as it was the most likely problem.
I was expecting it to be cold outside, but it was mild and humid and quite dark. It was a lucky thing I checked the tank at night. When I opened the metal cap covering the gauges and the regulator, I exposed an entire colony of large stinging insects. They were much larger than the wasps that build paper nests, so I am not certain what they were. I lifted the cover without caution, not expecting anything dangerous. If it had been in the day, I may have been swarmed. Though it bothered my conscious a bit, I left the cover open, thinking of the man who will have to fill the tank sometime in the daylight hours of this week.
It has been a long while since I have been outside at night, except for thirty seconds between the house and the car. I switched off the headlamp and instantly saw the sky was full of continuous lightning. It has been so dry that I stopped concerning myself with weather reports. The possibility of rain was a pleasant surprise and I wondered how far away the storms were. I could not hear thunder. But before I went inside to check the weather channel, Duke and I were going to spend at least a few minutes out in that glorious night.
We walked up the driveway and I left the headlamp on to make sure I did not fall in one of the ruts. The ground is level enough at the top that I can safely walk in the dark. The frequent lightning illuminated the ground occasionally, so I turned the light off. We walked toward Ginger's green gate in natural quiet. A few crickets and, I think, little tree frogs were the only things making noise. No industrial chaos, no machinery, no gunshots, no angry shouting, no loud human beings, no interstate whine. Such peace is a treasure almost beyond compare. About a mile away, the neighbor's yard light created an enormous invasive glow in my perfect black night. If there is no moisture in the air, their yard light is not visible from my property, but in the humidity, it looks like a UFO in a Spielberg movie. Neighbors!
I thought Ginger would hear us and come to the gate, but she must have been at the far east end. I did not call her or wait for her to come up because I did not have a peppermint or a carrot. She likes to be petted a little and talked to over the fence, but just in case it is only the treats she comes for, I do not call her unless I have a gift for her majesty.
It was a wonderful night. I absolutely love roaming in the dark and listening to the healing peace of the prairie. The silent lightning was an unexpected gift. Poor old Duke makes a lot of noise just breathing these days. He is getting old and what was once effortless for him now requires an effort. We are a two peas in a pod.
When I came into the house, I checked the weather channel. I was not certain if the rain would reach my valley or not but sometime later I heard the approaching thunders and, at last, it began to rain. It rained all night long - a gentle, steady healing rainfall. I felt sorry for the wasps who had unexpectedly lost their shelter but that was the only downside to the long awaited rains.