I love when the earth gets dark. When it gets dark, it also gets quiet. The chatter of the birds whittles away to the chirp of crickets and the faint whisper of the wind as it grazes the leaves. The darkness forces me to listen, listen to the song it presents me. Nobody else listens as closely as I do. On certain nights, when the darkness swallows everything, I just close my eyes, lie on my back on the edge of the night, let my heart slow and my breathing follow. It is a beautiful melancholy to behold: the rushing of water in the streams below, the patter of the deer prancing between the brush, the croak of the frog on the branch above me, the swaying of the trees to the wind, all in sync with each other. On even darker nights, the darkness will sometimes swallow the noise. It seems a difficult thing to fathom, and only a handful of people have witnessed the phenomenon. The darkness becomes so thick that not even noise can pierce it. I listen to the perfect silent with eyes open, but unseeing. And then nature procures the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I look up and see the stars in the sky, gentle and modest creatures, become proud and opulent. They become bigger and bigger until they drop out of the sky and hang between the trees, lighting up the rivets in the land and where the damaged earth meets the lush overgrowth. They cast rich light into every crevice in the earth, illuminating every blade of grass. They are an intangible texture, only palpable through the warmth that enters through my fingertips and centers in my chest. When this happens, the only thing I hear is a heartbeat, but I know it is never mine.