Sometimes presence is the best of presents.
Call me crazy, but I feel like this year has been stuck on ‘repeat’. So to mix it up a bit, we decided to take the dogs out walking…at night…on a trail.
We had discovered a network of trails near our house in the early days of the pandemic, enchanted by the opportunity to get some fresh air (and fresh scenery!). But we weren’t alone in this discovery; on a fine day, the trails can be packed with both people and dogs. Awkward encounters, where the path is simply too narrow to maintain six feet apart, are inevitable. Or we pass children who desperately want to pet our dogs, but whose parents wish just as desperately to keep them away. Meanwhile the dogs are confused: Why can’t we play with the small humans? They’re the best kind!
The cover of dark removes all these obstacles. We had the trails to ourselves. While the dogs investigated fascinating new smells, we drank in the moonlight and experienced a quiet rarely found. We didn’t even need the flashlight we’d brought; Clement C.Moore called it correctly with ‘And the moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow/gave the luster of mid-day to objects below’.
At one point, the trail crosses a meadow. With no obvious signs of ‘civilization’ present, it could have been 2021 or 1821, when people walking home from the mills, or church, or dinner with friends probably saw a very similar scene. That ability to transform and transport is one of the best gifts of these late night rambles.
Wine can do that, too. With an open mind and a little imagination, wine can take you back to places you’ve loved and/or forward to places you want to go. As winter trudges onward, I think we’ll continue our night-time jaunts. And afterward, I’ll likely be home, with a glass of wine, traveling in my mind.