An argument might have been made this morning for a new favorite time of day. The perfect crescent moon and twinkling blanket of constellations against a jet black canvas. I don’t think I’ve ever been on this trail so well ahead of sunrise. The woods were dark and the air was clear. The moon played peek-a-boo through the spines of the trees and there was one very vocal owl. Sometimes the night before these early morning hikes I think of all the things that could go wrong. All of the things I should be afraid of. The mind is funny that way. In the smallest parking lot I was the only car. The gate was open so I drove up to a larger lot and joined two other cars. There weren’t a lot of us there this morning, but somehow it seemed safer to begin from here. I saw two shadows in the parking lot but once they vanished I didn’t see another soul until I was coming down some three hours later.
As soon as I stepped onto the trail and headed up, my fear fell away. The mind is funny in this way too. At precisely the time when all the terrible things might happen, I am filled with a calm I can’t explain. I marvel at the miracle of having all of my senses engaged before the sun even peeks out. There have been other times when my whole self has been engaged like this, but those memories are gathering dust in the back of my mind. I love this feeling. I am awake and alive, attentive and receptive. The world could have her way with me now and I would not resist.
At 1.5 miles, day has begun to break. I turn off my flashlight and navigate the rocks and roots as civil twilight begins. My only guide is that tangerine ribbon of sky on the horizon. It’s delicious ! The landscape changes in the fall. ( Of course it does … ) The lake is reduced to a few large puddles and the hillsides are bursting with pockets of color as the leaves begin their slow death into winter.
I brought some of Sassy with me this morning – this place I love, this little creature who gave me untold joy when I needed it most. It seems a fitting place to sprinkle the soul dust of her that remains. Waiting for the sun to rise teaches me something about letting things be as they are. There is no rushing this moment.
I let her go just as the sun came up over the horizon.
A beautiful welcome for Sassy.
A beautiful letting go for me.
And so begins this long season of goodbye *