The Empty Lot in Eden, Idaho

As far as we knew, no one had ever built on the empty lot behind us, left only for a large garden that the Fitzpatrick family to the north of the lot planted.

Mother used to spot us riding on the forbidden Hunt road through that lot. We’d try to sneak by as fast as we could, but she had an eye for our snoopy deviance.

I remember the day the west neighbors put their home back there; I remember it because I was saddened for the change. Here was another person to have to get used to. The vista of an empty lot was just eaten up.

…and it was their yard light that caused me the most grief. The stars lost their back yard brilliance then.

Yet, even so, I remember climbing to the asphalt shingle roof and looking over that house, over the smaller trees (then) and into the great flat horizon that the sun slept in. I’d watch the sun descend slowly, diminishing from the brilliance that illumines the eastern world with copper and amber light. I’d watch the sun sleepily descend from that brilliance to the deep red-orange you can look at and not have to squint for. Then, millimeter by millimeter, the solar enormity disappeared, ushering the mystery of twilight.

The killdeer celebrated this each night. So did Venus, who arrived early in twilight’s hour. Sister stars and planets came too, and on a particularly marvelous night, the golden cheese of a moon would ascend in the east and I’d watch the slow climbing descent (I think it’s both directions at the same time) of twilight in the other hemisphere.

Above the reign of mosquitoes, I’d watch, I’d pray, I’d be silent. As light faded, so did my journal handwriting.

And once twilight met night, the neighbor’s yard light came on. I’d go inside.