The skies have just a few wispy clouds accenting a moon a third full. In the distance a blue glow eminates off the Hogbacks now fully swathed in a winter blanket of snow. Stars wink in the depths of the heavens and it is surely a perfect winter’s night.
The moon is enough to cast my shadow long upon the snow. Unfortunately, not bright enough to highlight the black ice leaving me committed to walk on the crunchier, and thus, louder snow. Years of yogic balancing now my only means to avoid landing loudly on my backside as I head down the north path. I fear I’ll see no wildlife tonight, but I am not the only noisy beast out this evening. Children whose parents are dining and drinking in the warmth of the house down the lane have taken to playing on the porch in the Christmas lights. It is clear they delight in hearing their giggles carry across the pond and echo off the houses on the other side.
I shift direction and take the deeper path Northwest and plunge into the eight or so inches of snow. My nose may be frozen but my feet are warm and dry in my trusty winter boots. I pass the house of the spirit fashionistas aglow in white Christmas lights and the ambient warmth of stylish living room lamps. I have been passing this well dressed house with its beautiful furnishings and art work for more than a year. I have never seen a living human inside it or decorating the outside. I have given this an embarrassing amount of effort, craning my neck and walking nearly into their yard. I have come to the conclusion that the ghosts of dead editors for Architectural Digest live there.
Once at the open fields and the marshes the world changes again. Deep snow and black tree trunks pepper the hillside and the moon turns it all into a storybook scene. Shadows of tall, snow-capped cattails break up the marsh in patches of midnight blue and I hear the ice crack on the farthest side. My coyotes are nowhere to be found and in this light I could see a mouse cross the marsh ice. I stay here a long time until my fingers ache with the cold.