When the sky is so clear that you can see stars from the city, a reasonable person would find some excitement in stepping outside after sunset, to look up. A child believes they see planets, an adult pinpoints the satellites, and a grandparent remembers the moon landing—each of them, for a moment, lost in the wonder of the sky.

Would a reasonable person step outside before sunrise, to look down? Birders are on the move early, to catch the the first sounds of the morning. But what else is there… to hear or see? Everything seems hidden and whatever activity there is in the undergrowth, it doesn’t sparkle at our feet like stars.

Staying up late is more fun than waking up early. But before fall turns to winter, grab a warm drink and head outside while the neighborhood is still quiet. Take a look around, while the trees are still black and cut out of the sky like a Lotte Reiniger scene.1

As the sun rises, maybe you’ll notice something you’ve never seen before. A baby crow sleeping on a low branch. A bumblebee drunk on nectar and passed out on the lawn. A daddy longlegs snug on a small leaf. Something’s out there, and it’s always worth it. So wake up early and get lost in the curl of an impossibly thin leg. 

ps. This harmless harvestman2 definitely wasn’t dead. It crawled away shortly after the picture was taken.