The garden at night is surprisingly bright on a clear night. The streetlights cast an orange glow but the moon and stars illuminate the garden and the sky really is a midnight blue. Being awake in the night isn’t all bad, it is quiet and nothing is expected of me. Worrying about sleep seems to worry the sleep right out of me, so I relax and enjoy the quiet.
Well, the almost quiet. I can hear the possums scurry around the deck and can spot their fat, furry frames on the powerlines. In the morning I find half-eaten apples and sometimes nibbled-upon figs too, where they grab the figs with their little possumy hands and pull them close the netting and nibble through the holes in the netting. Clever creatures. I enjoy listening to them thump around on the roof, it frightened me at first but I like it now.
For the first summer, I’ve heard bats visiting, looking for fruit. They don’t have the feathery rustle of birds, it is a leathery kind of slapping. There are birds too, rustling around in their nests in the dense branches near the bedroom window. I lie here and hope the neighbour cats don’t bother them, I know they creep around at night, mostly silent but sometimes fighting each other which wakes the dog up.
The dog is not part of the night garden, he disrupts quiet, barking at possums and chasing moths and bugs flittering towards the lights. It is best he stays quietly snoring inside, sometimes twitching as he chases possums in his sleep.
In summer it cools down at night, dropping by sometimes 25 degrees celsius, so we sleep with the doors open, secure behind the metal screens but with the curtains open it almost feels you are in the garden. It is usually still, although sometimes the breeze rattles the leaves and brings the cool, garden-scented air in.
It is nice to lie and listen to, resting, listening and imagining.