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Wet Night

November 1996
I think it's at night when I am most glad that I live in the country. I have lived in a few different towns and cities during my college years, and the continual hiss and rumble of cars passing by always disturbed me while I was trying to sleep. There are no natural night sounds in the city, at least not in the places that I lived. Just a restive silence as the night tries to settle down but never quite makes it as a car grumbles by, a door slams, a voice floats toward you from next door.

Last night a wispy fog blanketed the hills. During the midnight drive home thin strands of mist flashed in and out of the headlights of my pickup, rolling along the highway and hovering overhead like sleepy ghosts. In spots it was almost tunnel-like, with a ceiling of fog several feet above the ground, reflecting the glare of the headlights and blocking my view of the sky.

As I coasted down the driveway, Baloo ran wide circles around the pickup, wagging his tail frantically and almost spinning himself in circles when he tried to stop. Baloo is my dog. I adopted him when he was a pup, and his previous owner told me he was "mostly hound." From looking at him I'd guess he's probably a mix of black and tan hound and leopard cowdog. He had one blue eye and one brown eye as a pup, but as he's grown the blue eye has turned a sort of cloudy, icy bluish white. I stepped out of the pickup and Baloo briefly touched my hand with his nose, spun around and vanished. I knew he'd be back.

It was a quiet night, quiet except for the normal night sounds. The air was filled with the sharp buzz of crickets and probably a few tree frogs. I listened carefully for a whippoorwill, but heard nothing. I guess he was too busy with other things to sing.