Night Spell

The wind stirred up great currents of snow into the air, forming transient patterns like the mumarations of flocks of starlings. These vagabond apparitions appear and disappear in the yellow light of street lamps. The night is full of ghosts. There is the howling of the wind in my ears, like far off coyotes. The beech leaves are rattling in congress with the wind and the still falling snow. Trees rubbing against one another sing and cackle in the depths of the forest. I am out of the lamp light, struggling up a slick road that runs parallel to the trees. The ice sheeted asphalt proves too slick, and I abandon it for the powdery snow on the side, sinking in above my boots. I enter the forest path with some trepidation. Even after all this time I still have to whisper to myself there’s nothing in the woods, there’s nothing in the dark. My mother taught me that. I was a kid with an overactive imagination who could find eldritch shapes in every shadow. My mother told me that when she was young, she was scared to swim in the lake where she couldn’t see the bottom, only dark water going down forever beneath her kicking toes. She would say to herself there’s nothing in the lake, there’s nothing in the dark. But of course there is something in the dark. There is something in the lake and there is something in the woods. It is that “something” that conjures me to go outside tonight. There are a thousand voices singing and a thousand eyes watching. Tonight I can feel that the earth is one creature with thousands of eyes, thousands of voices. These voices seep together in a hum, and that hum coalesces in one low long heart beat. Right now these voices are rich and wild. I will admit they scare me with their utter ferocity. I tried to remember all those days I danced in the wind, called myself its child. But now I felt more the child, with a unknowable parent, a parent with no time to explain things, with grander plans that I could not begin to understand, and which therefore I feared. There was a glorious and vicious jubilation to the cold and the snow and the wind as I stepped out of the woods to the top of the hill. The stinging wind makes my eyes water, which is frustrating because I just want to see. On a clear day, you can see blue mountains stretching out all the way to the horizon. It’s dark tonight and overcast, colorful clouds gallivant across the sky, light blues of a mysterious color that I can’t describe and strange garish pinks from an unknown light source. Phantasms appear in the wind tossed snow dancing madly across the slope. The surrounding mountains are nearly hidden in the madcap mumarations of the snow. But I can feel them looming in the dark. I can feel the cathedralesque openness of the valley below, the land of pine trees stretching out to the mountains. I stood on the hill top and communed with my gods.