A Night Walk   Leave a comment

In the course of finding time for the magical, I found an intense desire to go and go until the land under my feet was moist and black and rich instead of hard concrete.  It was a misty night where fog rolled up the hill of the park not far away and I followed that fog into the green riot that was the undergrowth.  I walked and walked into the woods, just trying to get a little further on.  Even with the sound of a train in the distance, I could have been a hundred miles away, or a hundred years in the past. I had to wait a few times and listen, hearing human movement nearby.  Safety is important, for while nature is no foolish thing to be scoffed at, her human children can be downright treacherous.  I had already seen too many of them on my way in for my taste.  I was just across a small road from a cemetary but the voices of the dead were silent that night.

As I looked for just the right spot, a curious dog followed me, and I knew his owner was not far off down the trail.  I had seen him along the ridge and turned another way, deeper into the woods to a place where the trail ended after a three way crossroads, on the other side of a fallen tree.  I’m sure the man spotted me and wondered what I was doing;  
some girl wandering around in the failing light, quite possibly talking to herself.  He followed me a bit, never getting very close, always watching.  I faded down behind the fallen tree and became still.  It would have taken no more than twenty seconds for his dog to find me if he had wanted to, I don't think I was interesting enough to continue pursuing.  They were at a distance before long.

As I settled into my location with its hollow tree stump perfect for my candle and lit a stick of incense for the nature spirits, I watched the light dissolve out of the sky like pouring sugar into a glass bowl of water and watching  until all at once you notice; it’s gone.  I made a little offering of an oat cake made with honey.  The mist answered back to my camera flash, blinding it until I surrendered the extra light and the darkness yielded up a few of the night’s secrets for me to keep as memories.  I visited with the spirits of nature.  They did not have a lot to say, with the exception to say that my gifts were noticed but that I should go.  I am not too proud to follow advice when given in any format and so I took a different way back where my access to the open hillside and the safety of visibility were quicker.  I heard feet in the woods behind me and they were not the steps of deer, nor the man and his dog who were long gone.  Whatever it was, it was making a lot of racket and not staying on the trail.  It occured to me that wandering in woods at the top of a hill entirely alone may not have been the safest idea I ever had.  It was also well worth it. 


The fog wrapped everything in a white scarf of quietness as I descended the hill back to my lonely vehicle sitting silently under the yellowish glow of a parking lot light.  My eyes strayed to the dark hillside now entirely shrouded in night, and the night looked back at me.
There is magic in the night, and there are dangers in the night, like the entire wild world and humans, too. I cannot keep myself from going out to be in the center of it, feel the caress of its moisture on my skin and hear the nearly silent muffled sound of my steps.  If you understand, you just understand, and I don’t have to explain even one more word.  It is a feeling of intense intimacy even while alone.  It is the feeling of being surrounded by the pulse of a thousand hearts and the gentle caress of a lover. I wonder: who else in the world could hear my heartbeat during their own walk on that same misty night? I could hear theirs.


Posted May 9, 2012 by Jessica in Uncategorized

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