Folded Field Notes: NOCTURNAL

empty chair on deck looking up at stars

Folded Field Notes is an interactive column that explores a new ecological topic each fortnight — part writing challenge, part citizen science project — led by alternating guides with assistance from editor & ecologist JS Graustein. Will you join us?


TODAY’S TOPIC : Nocturnal
As the sun sets on the last day of 2018, I’m guessing this evening that we’ll all be nocturnal creatures: active at night. I would love to see some one-line examples of nocturnal activity in the comments below – like a specific animal or plant that uses the dark for its advantage, carving out a niche for itself using time rather than space. Be safe when out observing tonight. And Happy New Year! ~JS

TODAY’S GUIDE:
portrait of Barbara FlahertyBarbara Flaherty is an artist and poet who lives on the north shore of Boston with two feline critics, Sylvester and Tashi. She works in the historic Manchester by the Sea Public Library. Barbara previously served as Folded’s acquisitions editor and has sponsored public readings for Folded authors.

OBSERVATION:
This is the time of the Solstice — one of my personal favorites — when dark hours slowly begin to lighten. Here on the north coast of Boston, these nights can be very dark — the darkness begins to gather some days in mid afternoon. Yet, there is a gift within these nocturnal hours — nocturnal being defined as active within the dark. Within these hours the stars become brighter and there is a clarity to the shadows. Even as the Solstice celebration comes, there is still a lingering within the comfort of the dark.

RESPONSE:

Long Dark Moon

When the full moon of Solstice
rose and lingered
for its full duration
growing in light,
I gathered my footsteps
for a season,
the same time allotted to the moon.
When the long dark moon’s edge disappeared
into the black sky,
I knew time and footsteps
had been matched.

©2018 by Barbara Flaherty

INVITATION:
Your turn! In the comments section below, please let us know if you’ve observed any kind of transition recently — including general location and time of day. We’ll leave the comments open for the next two weeks in case you need a chance to go on a field trip first😊 And if your encounter inspires you to write a response (short poem, flash fiction, or mini essay), please come back and share that as well. In February, we’ll post a community poem based on all your observations. We’ll also select one of the response pieces to publish in our Written Word Wednesday column (revisions may be requested).

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7 Comments on “Folded Field Notes: NOCTURNAL

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