What creatures dwell within that place where humans fear to tread, that lightless world brushed in shades of darkness? What life calls the shadow realm home?
What fate awaits the hapless wanderer who unwittingly seeks shelter within the embrace of shadows?
What birth cares not for the light—fears it even—and wishes for naught save the confines of night wherein it finds all need and all want satiated?
What behemoth of diurnal adulthood springs forth in gloom to unwrap the clothing of childhood so that it might don the skin of the elders?
What flightless flier shields its childhood upon the underbelly of leaves and inside the grasp of sunless vegetation?
What mother-to-be satisfies her hunger and plans her children’s future in that place where no light shall ever fall?
What predator seeks shelter amongst the dense cover of trees while still mastering the hunt lying before it?
What whole being finds itself birthed, matured, given to offspring and caught by death all within the place defined by sunup to sundown, a total life spent in fear of the world of days and longing for the world of nights?
What tiny animal, one no larger than my thumbnail, peruses the unwritten future and exists within the pressing now by succumbing to nocturnal demands that keep it hidden from eyes that cannot see in the dark?
What large insect scampers diligently in a world devoid of illumination whilst simultaneously facing the dawn with utmost bravery and determination?
We—we humans—are creatures of light, diurnal monsters upon the face of a planet made of perpetual change, one given to fits of brightness so profound as to be blinding and fits of darkness so deep as to be swallowers of whole worlds.
Inhabitants of the shadow realm know not the world we know, and few of them dare invade it, yet equally we of the world of light can never understand that which comes in the darkness, that which feeds on the dim surface of another planet, one both alien and familiar.
Our senses cannot take us there, cannot protect us in that place.
I wonder how much living we fail to notice, fail to understand, simply because we do not possess the faculties to invade that space.
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 A female green anole (Anolis carolinensis) hunting amongst the branches of verdant shrubs.
 A mushroom (unidentified) that joined its brethren in a one-day grow-a-thon outside my patio when days of rain finally gave way to calmer weather.
 The exuva of a cicada (unidentified) found clinging to a leaf. Amazing that such a creature found sufficient leverage on the flimsy support of a single leaf…
 A southern flannel moth caterpillar (a.k.a. pussy moth, Bolivia bug, puss caterpillar or asp; Megalopyge opercularis) making its way from the upper branches of my photinia bushes to the safety of shade within the dense foliage.
 A young female black & yellow argiope (a.k.a. yellow garden spider; Argiope aurantia) who has taken up residence on the ceiling of the pigpen at the family farm. It’s quite easy to put one’s head right up against her web, if not against her directly, so be warned when stepping inside the pigpen: keep your head down unless you know what’s above you.
 A yellow-crowned night-heron (Nyctanassa violacea) perched in the treetops as I passed beneath.
 A common psathyrella mushroom (Psathyrella candolleana) with a drop of dew resting between it and a blade of grass.
 A juvenile toad (Bufo valliceps or Bufo nebulifer) crossing the path in front of me. It stopped when I stopped, and there we both stayed for a wee bit of time as I just looked at it, appreciated it for its youthful beauty.
 A black carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus) milling about on the surface of its nest hidden within the trunk of a tree. Watching these large insects is quite fun, especially considering how clumsy they are on their own buildings.