The next night of our rustic camping at a state park in Virginia, the older children and I went on a night prowl with a park ranger. My husband stayed with the twins who firmly believed that nothing could get them if they stayed inside the canvas tent trailer. Hence the reason we needed to zip up the canvas windows at night.
So the three children and I brought flashlights and met the park ranger and other guests at the pond. We couldn’t miss the meeting spot. Flashlights were blinking and shining all over the place.
The first thing the ranger told the group was to keep the flashlights pointed downward on the path and not to shine the light in anyone’s face. This permitted our eyes to adjust to the darkness so that we could see better what was around us. If we heard anything rustling around in the forest, he told us to shine the light at the sound and scan the area to see what made the noise.
Our first investigation was the pond where he showed us the bullfrogs hiding in the mud. They stopped bellowing when the light was shone on them. We discovered deer, bats zipping through the field in search of dratted mosquitoes. We saw luminous fungi glow when our flashlights hit it. Oranges, reds, and yellows shone from downed tree stumps.
We saw so many interesting things. The children couldn’t wait to return to the camper and tell their father and the twins everything they saw. We chattered on about raccoons and skunks and turtles as we crossed the field to get to our campsite.
The children burst through the camper door, shouting to their father.
“Daddy, I found a boy and girl kissing,” our son proudly announced.
“Yea,” the oldest said. “He blinded them right in the face.”
“They were sitting on the bench by the pond,” our other daughter informed her father.
My husband looked at me quizzically.
I nodded my head. I had forgotten as our son discovered the couple at the beginning of our night journey. All the luminous eyes of the night creatures and the bug noises and the animal movement, and what do our children remember? A couple caught kissing in the dark.