|Tod Inlet, taken just before dusk|
After dinner is eaten and the dishes done, one of us suggests a walk. Sometimes it happens right away; other times we wait until 9 pm or so.
I put on a loose hat, mostly so that my hair won't frizz too badly. We check the thermometer and decide if we need gloves, or not. The hour is of little concern, for no matter the time, we'll step out into darkness.
|Island View Beach, early morning|
Down the hill, turn left and then veer onto one of three route possibilities. We rarely meet anyone, occasionally someone is walking his dog and we exchange greetings with puffs of visible air.
Through the woods we go, talking quietly or not at all. The trees loom dark and high against the path. Oddly, visibility is best on cloudy nights when the city lights reflect back down to earth. On clear nights we look up at the stars and are careful with our feet to prevent stumbling over roots and rocks.
|November full moon|
Now on quiet streets where houses nestle into Christmas Hill. From the woods on the hill pours a soft and liquid, "Whoo-hoo. Who-whoo." We stop, entranced. Again, "Whoo-hoo. Who-whoo." We walk on, lingering, aching to hear more.
A few seconds later, "Whoo-hoo. Who-whooo." A quick swoop of wings in the dark and then another call from a different tree. "Whoo-hoo. Who-whoo." The last time.
Hands and ears begin to feel the cold. We walk home, open the door and are greeted by a rush of warmth and the flicker of the fire.