For some reason walking out to feed my horses is a special time of night. There is something incredible about the word when it glows with moonlight and strange long shadows lay quietly across the land.
A few nights ago I was bestowed with a magical walk including fairies and their sparkling dust. Add in a few elusive moonbeams and that just about made it complete. And no, I was not doped up on booze, or looped out on goof balls, or taking too many pharmaceuticals resulting in a conscious altered state. On the contrary, my daily interactions with my beloved family is enough to make me hallucinate. Thankyouverymuch.
Maybe it's the still night air, the coolness dropping from the sky like an icy blanket, and the glowing of the land which stirs an appreciation inside me. It all makes me feel alive and aware.
I always pass through a place where the coolest air gathers at the bottom of the creek channel on my short journey. The heavier cold air sinks to this low spot. It gathers and waits. Sometimes I think it is almost alive.
I can imagine a creek floating above the stream, but it is not running water that I see. It is a narrow curtain of cold air stretching up toward the sky, tapering as it ascends. This phantom creek flows north from our property stretching across the small valley in which we live. The river of air winds along the channel twisting and turning like a blue and white ribbon of stretched salt water taffy, but every flowing toward it's confluence with the bigger creeks downstream. It's a cold ghostly kind of stream, ethereal and unworldly.
I can feel it as soon as my chest breaches the invisible sheet it forms in the swale and just four steps later I am out of it. Just like that. In the day it is intangible, but at night time the sudden change in air temperature grabs me by surprise. It startles my skin and nose and hair, sending little prickly goose bumps up my arms and neck. A presence touches me and I shiver, but it is not unwelcome. It reminds me to feel and notice that which is absent at other times.
My little walk had come at a break in the rainy weather, and as I faced west toward the barn, the illumination from the glowing half moon was dazzling. A yellow halo pulsed around the half eaten moon pie. Shining with such brightness, the moon revealed the delicate water ripples flowing down our stream. This was the for real kind of water. The second hand sunlight made shimmery blades of grass visible where they lie flattened after the floodwaters had their way. A few silvery strands floated on the top of the water moving slowly with the tiny current.
I could see my reflection in the water too. My face was clearly visible in tones of black and white and gray. It was a night portrait, complete. I saw not just an outline or a soft picture, but well defined features. My solemn visage, my bright eyes and my quietly closed mouth. I was studying. I can't help it. It's what I do.
Distant calls of Pacific chorus frogs echoed in my head. Their repetitive conversations bounced back and forth between the hills in our valley, bringing me back to reality. Something happened to my frogs. I found one dead and floating body in the pond and the rest of my frog men have been silent. I have a suspicion that something lurks in the darkness just out of sight that snacks on my happily noisy friends. There are masked bandits on four legs with clever hands who don't steal money, only my little green jewels from the pond.
Just the night before the sky was dark and petulant, dumping trillions upon trillions of rain drops on our five acre patch of earth. The creek spanned 60 feet wide during the heaviest downpours. But in contrast, the few feet of water I traversed on this night shows the broad range of possibilities between day to day and moment to moment.
I looked to the sky again realizing the cloud cover, which had been persistent in blocking the sun and moon for several days, had finally relented. The moon hovered in the middle of a cloud shaped horseshoe in the sky. Puffy clouds lightly brushed with a pallet of blue and gray and yellow formed a shroud around the moon. It was as if an opening cleared in the canopy just for me so that I could experience a few moments of brilliance.
Maybe we live to find those few moments of brilliance. I try to store them in my mind. I think I will need these thoughts later. These gathered memories of exceptional minutes need remembering. Isn't that what we all strive for?