The other evening, satisfied with the results of a project just completed, I decided some repose was in order, and put the new acquisition's reclining capabilities to the test.
Large solitary dragon flies passed overhead, some high up and headed straight to unknown destinations. Others flew lower, turning on a dime, using an Etch a Sketch flight pattern to snatch this or that. Cicadas sang their first songs of summer somewhere down among the trees.
I had expected bats to play a starring role in this evening sky, as they have in past summers, but not a single one appeared to patrol the tree-lined opening at dusk. Since New Jersey's resident bats have been succumbing to a fungus that attacks them during hibernation in the couple caves they all gravitate to for the winter, it's easy to be worried by their absence.
I later contacted Margaret O'Gorman of the NJ Conserve Wildlife Foundation, which has been doing heroic work to save bats from this introduced fungus. Her biologists say the relatively few bats that have survived the past two winters may have some immunity to the White Nose Syndrome, offering hope that the populations can recover. She mentioned an August 4 event about bats at the Allaire Nature Center.
All this takes us far from that little opening in the trees, but that's what a patch of sky can do. Shifting colors imply a distant sunset; winged cameo appearances and no-shows give clues about happenings far off. Leaning back, relaxing, it's still possible to do quite a bit of travel. No seatbelts are needed, just a serendipitous piece of outdoor furniture and a portal to the sky.