At night I’ve been known to stare into the quiet darkness beyond our windows, so different from the fierce sunlight of the day and its illumination. And I wonder: what really happens out there, after the sun slithers behind the mountains? What happens behind the scenes?

A lot, it appears. When our blinds are drawn to the skies canvassed in the soft black felt of night, things do, indeed, go bump … Or maybe pssstt or hissss ….

That ain’t no housecat, folks! This is Bob, our resident bobcat, marking his territory – an old mining tube that stands about two-feet tall.

That ain’t no housecat, folks! This is Bob, our resident bobcat, marking his territory – an old mining tube that stands about two-feet tall. Photo credit: Melissa Crytzer Fry

Thanks to our new trail camera, we’ve captured Bob in action on quite a few nights, illustrating that there is a lot is happening that we can’t see (and VERY close to our back yard, along the rock wall):

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We’ve also seen:

A cautious, yet intrepid, coyote.

A cautious, yet intrepid, coyote.  Photo credit: Melissa Crytzer Fry

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Suckling baby javelinas.

Suckling baby javelinas. Photo credit: Melissa Crytzer Fry

All of this “not-seen-by-me, but clearly-it’s-happening” enlightenment made me think a lot about books and all the things happening behind the scenes in some literary works.

This was probably top-of-mind because my book club had read The Woman Upstairs, by Claire Messud, and I’d commented that this story wasn’t really about the story; it was largely about what wasn’t in the narrative. It was about those things behind the actual story taking place: the hidden themes, the brilliant symbolism and parallels between artists and women, and women artists, and living and life and obsession. Because, frankly the story itself was a quiet “not much happening” kind of tale.

Even so, I loved it, because, for me, a good book is one that is laced with those things unseen – an invisible tapestry draped over the action of the story and, embroidered within it, thematic parallels, symbolic gestures, lush descriptions, hidden meanings, inspections of the larger philosophical issues of life… similar to those unseen things – yet very much “there” – that happen under the cloak of darkness in my back yard.

***To see photos of other critters from our old trail camera, see my 2011 Captured by Cudde post.


Original version published at WHAT I SAW. Reposted, in full, with permission of the author.
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