Camping in the Shadow of Carl Sandburg

A nearly-round moon illumines the night
I can almost see each individual leaf
On the trees towering over our tent.
The land is parched, but no rain has fallen
For several months so I leave the rainfly off.
As I lay on my sleeping bag--the air has not
Cooled enough to be in it yet--
I listen to the sounds around me.
The night is still, but it is not silent.
Man-made sounds like a passing freight train
Rumble in the distance, but overhead
A cacophony of the noises created by
Insects and frogs rolls over me.
I try to isolate just one sound,
But it is almost maddening to try.
A shooting star flashes by overhead.
I know it is not actually a star
But a burning chunk of space rock.
Yet "meteorite" is not as romantic to say.
I track a satellite's orbit across the sky,
And am stirred from near-slumber
From the shrill chatter of a raccoon pair
That comes to take advantage of
Any crumbs we dropped during supper last night.
I watch the pair scampering about,
Chasing each other as if the moon
Bids them to come and play.
Then I lay back in repose, ready for sleep
 As the hunter Orion watches over me.
 -July 27-28, outside Galesburg, Illinois, birthplace of said poet.

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