Crystalline darkness, purple haze, dark trees trunks and clattering branches, so cold that breath turns solid and falls like glitter into nothingness. Frigid black sky dome pierced with blue burning stars, their tiny light reaching across the cosmos to twinkle in my eyes. A large cold moon rises just above the hill, casting purple shadows across the glowing snowscape. Reflected moonlight on the snow is almost as bright daylight, but softer and much colder. The air is blue and purple and the ground is glowing while the big crystal moon rises higher above her domain. Reach out and touch the darkness, the blue moonlight shining on earth and above, become the moonlight, shifting shadows, and dizzy dreams.
I did my own little snowshoe trek after work today, vaguely trying to get in shape for guiding snow shoe tours. Started off on the same trail as before, tromped across the mountain, looking uphill at every ski trail crossing so as not to get hammered. Looking downhill at the lodge, the town, the valley, and the mountains beyond. The whole sky and landscape mirror each other in a uniform dark blue grey. It’s late afternoon, and I think the sun has slipped below the western horizon, but the dim blue grey light seems unchanged in intensity as the day progressed. Heavy low clouds linger around the black mountaintops, loitering like bores teenagers, waiting for darkness to fall. I find and follow an unused bike trail that goes off through the woods, picking my way over unseen rocks and divots in the uneven snow covered ground, my snow shoes making long oval tracks in the fresh granular snow drifting through the woods from the snow guns. It is darker in the trees, through some tangled brambles I see a sparsely covered closed ski trail and head for that. Breaking from the tree cover, a purple grey sky greets me as the last light leaves the open sky settling in the west as a violent purple glow that will soon be swallowed by encroaching darkness. I head downhill and back to the lodge through the purple night.
Full dark comes early this time of year. The sunlight is always slanting, even at high noon. I do miss those long summer days spreading out like warm golden honey from horizon to horizon. Now that the leaves are gone from all the deciduous trees, we can see the three houses across the hollow. I stepped out onto the porch after dinner, turning off the light so I could see into the darkness and absorb the starlight. I noticed through the bare trees colored lights twinkling in the darkness. The houses across the hollow have Christmas light up, cheerful and bright. I stand and gaze at them from afar until the chill creeps in. Joyful lights to brighten our hearts in the cold darkness of winter.
I have little solar lights all over the yard outlining the flower garden beds. They give off a small patch of blue-white LED light around where they are placed. Standing on the porch with the flood light turned off, I can gaze out over the inky yard and see the giant unblinking fireflies lighting up glittering rocks in the darkness. It looks kind of like a mystical fairy land just out of reach. It always makes me smile to see those small glowing bulbs illuminating tiny spheres of hope and promise in the murky gloom of the darkened landscape!
Our old cat likes to wake us up around 4:30 am for his morning meal. For a variety of reason, we acquiesce to this demand. I usually clean out the cat litter when I get up and normally wait until it’s light out to take it to the trash. However, this morning, I ventured out into the quiet, frosty darkness, bundled in only a fleece robe over flannel pajamas and wearing wool slippers. My breath bursts forth in little billowing white clouds that quickly dissipate into the night. This late or early all is silent. Night animals are going to sleep and morning animals haven’t awaken yet, and there are no other lights in the houses or on the road. Walking back toward the stairs to go inside, I glance up momentarily and am stunned into stillness like a marble statue. Stars! The stars have my undivided attention. Zillions of brilliant, dazzling, sparkling stars reflecting in my glittering eyes, sensational star song rushes over me, bathes me in starlight. Pure rapture!
I have been sitting on the porch all evening, alternately listening to a book on my kindle, knitting, bird watching, reading old science magazines, daydreaming, or just gazing out over the road noticing how the trees are loosing their red and gold leaves and the hillside across the way is becoming more visible each day. The sun has set, daylight is fading quietly, darkness is slowly creeping down the hill around the house, silently seeping into the sir and sky. They twilight is cool and stills as the birds and chipmunks retire to their nests. The trees become dark silhouettes against the purpling sky, the first brightest stars appear as weak glimmers, gaining in brightness as the sky coalesces into darkness. The porch has drifted into dark shadow, soft caress of approaching night against my skin. A bird calls out, a single loud piercing short cry splits the silence for just a moment. It leaves its perch and flies into the darkness. I do not want to go inside. I would like to stay here and become this soft smooth night, be the blanket of calmness that brings slumber and dreams, swirl and twirl dancing with twinkling starlight, bathe in the moonlight, loving life and living in my misty dreams of infinite universe.
Darkness, seems total and complete until you actually look at the darkness and notice a slight lessening of the darkness between the tree branches and leaves, where the night sky barely peaks through. I have groggily woken to a quiet dark world outside the tent windows. A breeze stir and whispers through the leaves, then almost imperceptibly, a hooting sound hauntingly echos far away through the forest and is answered in turn by another owl nearer, but still far away enough to seem dreamlike in their singing. I fall back to sleep with the barred owl lullaby.