2:30 am and my dog wakes me out of a sound sleep. I try to convince her she really doesn’t need to go out right now, right this minute, in the rain…but yes, she does. Too bad dogs don’t come with a snooze button.

Yesterday I had the lovely experience of discovering during a middle of the night trek to the bathroom (in the dark of course) that she had an upset stomach. Actually from the evidence it was her entire digestive tract that was upset. So was I after stepping into it. Turning on the light I discovered she had left deposits of varying grossness throughout the hallway. I had a brief and almost overwhelming urge to just turn out the light and pretend I had not seen anything…but I had to wash my foot off first. The culprit to all this was clearly feeling better as she kept hurling toys at me in an effort to get a rousing game of tug of war going. I refused to be roused.  After marking each road hazard with a tent of paper towels, I decided against undertaking a full cleanup and inevitably waking up the entire household. I went back to bed for a few hours.

The culprit.

So when she wakes me this morning I grudgingly agree to take her out. Because of all the wildlife around I keep her on leash. I have a headlamp I bought for camping which is ideal for this. As I stand there in the rain urging her to do whatever she needs to do…which at the moment seems to consist of simply standing and looking out into the blackness, I turn my head from side to side sweeping the yard with light. All is quiet except for the dog who is now staring fixedly into an especially dark corner and growling. It absolutely creeps me out but I can’t see a thing. But I also know my dog and she has a habit of growling at the most inane objects –  toads, the gas grill, potted plants – anything she decides seems out-of-place. So I am taking all this with a grain of salt while at the same time backing slowly towards the house.

On clear nights the headlamp often picks up a pair (or more) of eyes looking back at me. Some belong to the deer who often sleep in neighboring yards: the adults on their feet, vigilant, the babies closer to the ground, resting. Deer eyes reflect a golden glow. On a few occasions I have spotted pairs of red eyes watching me.  I am unsure what animal the red eyes belong to, but they freak me out a bit. They seem more menacing somehow. The glowing eyes bring back memories of the sand people in ‘Star Wars.’

I think about the first time I saw ‘Star Wars,’ and ‘E.T.’ and ‘Close Encounters…’ I remember being blown away, awestruck at the images. With all the technology of today, is there a place for that kind of newfound wonder? Experiencing something so out of the box, so fresh, so unexpected…is that still possible?

I glance down at the dog, thrilled she is finally going the bathroom. We go inside and I shut the door against the night.