A Gold Star Evening

When I was younger, I used to mentally paste a “gold star” on an hour, evening, or full day that was absolutely beautiful and full of the joy of living.  I never casually labeled these moments,  and I used the “gold star” label very sparingly.  To this day, only a handful of these memories stand out.

Although I don’t consciously follow this practice anymore, if I still did, I would stick a huge, shiny, golden star on last night.  Last night was a simple enough night spent with my best friend, and yet something was different….life was full of beauty and peace.

After a take-out pizza dinner (our form of a cheap date), Josh and I first worked on our raised garden bed.  The air was warm with a cool breeze, the kittens prowled, and our work was full of laughter.  I learned how to use the drill, and Josh commenced to bark out the command: “Drill, baby, drill.”  LOL.

(I’ll be posting on our new raised veggie bed)

As the sunlight faded, we headed inside for some cool refreshments.  Sitting in our living room with the windows open, we heard two sounds we were waiting for: the wail of our mysterious owl, sounding like a kitten’s yowl, and the boom of fireworks, the beginning of “Celebration on the Grand.”

Like two kids, we rushed out of our house and entered the cemetery across from our property.  It was an eight minute walk to the ridge in the cemetery that overlooked the city line, and with each boom we heard, we would start sprinting, convinced that the fireworks would be over before we got there, and then we would slow down to a puffing jog and finally walk again until the next boom.

At the ridge, we startled a small group of deer, which raced off, gracefully leaping over gravestones.  From a distance, we could hear them snort every once in a while when they smelled our scent.  Finding a comfortable spot, we enjoyed the show.

Somehow, in the beauty of the surroundings and with just each other, the fireworks seemed like a personal show, put on just for us.  I attempted to take pictures, but my camera was very uncooperative in the poor lighting.  I still managed to get a few, however:

  After the grand finale, we did some owl-hunting.  In the past month, night after night, as we lay in bed, we would hear the call of a mysterious bird.  It was a strange yowling call, and in the beginning I thought it was our cats meowing outside our window.  But one night, Josh ran outside, and from the short glimpse that he had, he knew it was an owl.  But what kind?

So last night after the fireworks, we searched for our owl.  Sure enough, we heard his cry from the tops of the trees.  As we drew closer and spotted him on a branch, he sensed our presence (and maybe my camera) and flew off to another tree.  We followed him around for a while, hearing his constant, eerie call and seeing his black silhouette against the gray sky. Finally gave up, realizing that it was next to impossible to get close enough to see him really well.  We think that he’s a Great Horned Owl, or perhaps a Long-eared Owl.

Smiling, we walked home, hand-in-hand.

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8 Responses to A Gold Star Evening

  1. Irene says:

    Sigh… way to make the rest of us feel all jealous like!!

  2. nicolette says:


  3. wkvwr says:

    Love it…. reminded me of “Keeping Days”…by Norma Johnston.

  4. Lora says:

    I always called those types of moments a serendipity day. They come once in a blue moon, and never when you expect it. Scott and I had a whole Saturday of special events when we were dating and spent the day up the Hudson. I guess that’s why we got married in Sleepy Hollow.

  5. Lora says:

    I love the gold star image. I can imagine you as a 8-10 year old girl earnestly deciding whether to give the day a gold star or not. Absolutely precious. You were always more thoughtful and purposeful than most of the rest of us.

  6. Dor says:

    Don’t those days just happen? You try to plan a day like that, and the weather or your mood doesn’t cooperate (ha, ha) and then you’re just fussing around in the backyard, and everything falls into place. Lovely, Ange.

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