Walking in the moonlight is so different from a day hike. It is more of a stroll really. No training speed here, because in reality, I am there to experience it. Sights. Sounds. All of it blends to create the night-song. Just after dusk while the sky is still gray, but not yet black I begin the Foxfire walk up Anna Ruby Falls. The park has them this time of year to show off the phosphorescent fungi that glow along the trail. On the way up, my friend and I hang towards the back of the group, allowing the young kids to run along ahead of us with their exuberance and flashlights. We smile at the parents who are speed walking in order to catch up. On this night, neither of us misses our small children.
Towards the back of the pack, it is a pleasant pace and still light enough that we do not need our flashlight. I can take in the scenery, except for the fact that in the shadows, the familiar path looks entirely foreign to me. The trees still stretch hundreds of feet above, but their leaves are black silhouettes against the charcoal sky, rather than the shades of green I am used to. The moonlight filters through them creating a beautiful patchwork of dark and light that dances in the breeze. The trail is mostly tree covered making the clear part of the moonlit sky appear the size of a postage stamp. Clouds slide over the moon in an effort to get to their destination. They are in no hurry and the sky becomes overcast increasing the need for flashlights. I resist the urge to turn mine on.
All around me, I can hear the river, falls jumping from rock to rock. The whitewater rushes, but in the dark I can only see the white, not the movement. This creates a stark contrast of white against the surrounding black water and huge gray boulders. There are downed trees, which appear to be bridges crisscrossing the river in this shadowy place. The monochromatic view is breathtaking on its own, in all the shades and hues…but when you add the night-song, it becomes magical. The leaves sound as if they are sighing because the temperature is finally cooling down for the night. The breeze that accompanies this soft rustling is calm and floats through my hair causing the slightest stirring. The river roars its reply with powerful notes that shake the ground, while at the same time gurgling and splashing in harmony with itself. Then the crickets shrill chirping melody begins at the same time the cicada initiate the cadence, which is the rhythm of the night-song. My heartbeat joins the song, as do my footsteps, while I climb the stairs to the falls. At the top, the laughter of the children joins in, at first sounding unnatural, but then blending in as if they are the vocalizing what the forest is saying. There is joy, and power here. There is rhythm, melody, and harmony. All of it blends and flows just like the river. There is a crescendo, but then, as I make the walk down, it changes.
We stop. Turn off all lights. The darkness is complete, and though the song is still playing the tune changes. There are no more shades. All is black..totally. It seems as though there is silence, or at least the sounds are muted, though I am sure it is only my perception because I cannot see. There is a hush among the walkers. Just as my eyes are adjusting to the inky darkness, I see the glow. It is greenish and scattered along the bank beside the trail. I am amazed that one second before, with lights on, there was only dirt. It is like a secret that only reveals itself to those who take the time to seek it out. Like a letter written with invisible ink…that says, “I am God. I want to share this with you. Isn’t it cool?” Above, in the black, thousands of lightning bugs put on a show that rivals any fireworks display I have ever seen. Glowing dirt and bugs with light up tails. How awesome is that? I just love it when creation testifies of the creator. It is a magnificent display of inspiration in which God smiles, as he sings the night-song.

One thought on “Night-Song

  1. Each night of life is a wall between today and the past.
    Each morning is the open door to a new world- new vistas, new aims, new tryings (L.M.Hodges)

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