– Monday Muse –
Dear One, it is on a surprisingly warm November evening in 2009, when I begin my walk at nightfall. Normally I would never begin a walk this close to dark, but I need to get outside, and drink in an hour’s worth of fresh air. I head down the two-track into the darkening woods. Soon, I realize a flashlight would be helpful. There isn’t a bit of wind, or the slightest breeze. The quiet is immense… penetrating. I stop and take a deep breath filling my lungs to capacity.
At first, I cannot help but think of the bobcat my husband and I spotted in front of our house. We have heard of three other sightings. I do not allow this to scare me. Who in this area has ever even heard of a bobcat attack? I will not be driven from the woods. I have a destination, the lake, perhaps an eighth of a mile. There I’ll watch the edge of darkness silently tiptoe across the still water.
In view of the lake the silence becomes deep and earthy. I am gathering in all I can of its splendor when, from behind me, a familiar moan rises. I turn toward the sorrowful sound. It must be THAT dog?
At night for the last few months, Ron and I often hear the same woeful sound. When we do, we refer to it as a deranged woman who is locked up in an old cottage tucked in somewhere between our place and the lakeshore. We tell each other that some night we will go exploring and find out where the sound comes from…both knowing that we will not.
Tonight I may find out; for as I move onward into the darkening woods, the sound increases. Why am I not frightened? Perhaps it’s near this next cottage? No…it isn’t, but it is close, very close. Suddenly, there it is…a huge Great Dane. He does not move, he seems made of marble. We stare. I wonder, could he be afraid of me? Will he, not I, be the one who does not go into the woods at night?
I step away, nearly trip over a root, walk on, and never hear another sound from the Great Marble Dane. I head up the rise, and into the open. As I near home, the stars are out in all their glory. I stop and turn, turn, turn from horizon to horizon. I crane my neck, stare up into the sky and stand in awe beneath the majesty of a vast starry dome. All that is good becomes better.
When I step inside the house, I notice the dark window panes, panes which usually hold an ominous value, but not now. Tonight they warmly invite me to revisit the magic of the night, where one can walk with anonymity under the cover of darkness and enjoy the most solitary of all solitary walks. On another such night that thought might tempt me. “Ron, do we have a small flashlight any where around here?”
“The LORD will command His loving kindness in the daytime;
And His song will be with me in the night, a prayer to the God of my life.” Psalm 42:8
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