The Milky Way over Lake Windermere. Notice the greenish airglow near the horizon, not to be confused with Aurora that would only be present in the opposite direction.
It was early to bed. Willow and I were up by 12:30 am ready for a walk. Although I would have preferred the dark skies of the mountains we stayed in the valley bottom among the light pollution.
It was a warm day. The earth was cooling. I could smell the water from the hills above. Willow stayed close as we walked the dark trail. I remembered the same smells and sights from when I was a kid. We would often swim on these kind of nights. There was an excitement to it. Back then I’m not sure if I noticed the stars. In youth you are part of the sky and water.
Even from above I heard the water in the lake trickling like a fast brook. It was unmistakeable, again a sound from my youth. The start of June and the Sucker Fish are spawning in the shallows, roiling against the gravel. I spent hours watching them when I was a kid.
The birds were quiet, but I detected them moving in the trees, uncomfortable with our presence.
I was lucky in my youth to roam these same hills and swim in the dark without a care. Now I’m careful not to step in a gopher hole or get to close to the edge of the bank, aware I could go down in a moments notice. They would say, ‘what was that old fool doing walking around in the dark anyway?’
It is in the dark below the stars I feel the past and present flow through me. It is a real thing. It comes from all directions, filtering erratically and humorously, like the flight of bats. Just when I’m ready to duck they fly into my chest taking my breath and filling me with joy.
I call out to Willow but she is right beside me.