Blinking awake, I couldn’t immediately place The sound. But at three a.m. Any sound that’s not the buzzing of cicadas Or tree frogs, Begs attention A clatter? A clicking bump? There had been serious rain. Was the river on the rise Banging the boats together? Might have to go down and lengthen the lines. Grabbed the flashlight and stepped out into the damp chill Where the halfmoon light glowed Weakly through the fog. Hadn’t taken the time to Pull on my wet sneakers -an ordeal in itself- So buckled immediately when an acorn cap Bit into my bare foot. Then again, on the next step when it stuck there. I had to lean against the cabin’s slippery wall to lift my foot; In my dotage I need either two feet on the ground Or a hand assist. I envied the horses on this, lift one leg still three down. The river was in good shape if a little murky from the storm but the boats were riding fine. Cans were scattered around the patio Probably a coon-long gone now. A skunk would have left his aromatic calling card and coyotes would have announced Their presence. I hadn’t carried the .22 out with me Because shooting guns in the middle of the night Just out of a dead sleep is The most appalling kind of folly. Then, from somewhere on the mountain Came the mournful call of a Great Horned Owl Too faint to have heard from inside. I tried to answer but sounded ridiculous. Embarrassed for the owl, I shut up. He moved and called again. Then again from the triple sycamore just downstream. I’d clean up the mess in the morning. Appreciative. The owl was worth getting up for.