How the Dark Illuminates

September 13, 2016

Tonight I needed some fresh air, so I went for a walk under the stars.

I heard the ancient, rhythmic hum of crickets. There was something eerie about the depth of their chorus, and Walking at night heightens the senses. The autumn breeze brought occasional waves of warmth from the dying summer air.the presence of so many invisible creatures around me.

As I walked past rows of dimly lit houses, thousands more families of insects sang into the night air, as if to say,

“This is our land, the land of crickets.

You may build your dwellings among our people, but know that you are sojourners here. We will continue to sing into the night, just as our ancestors did.”

I looked up and saw the looming shadows of trees. They seemed to turn slightly and lean over me as I walked, but I passed by them unnoticed.

Beyond the jagged edges of the trees I could see the stars, and a faint glow of the moon. The scale of its canopy was immense.

I felt as if I was shrinking into the shadows, to the very base of the earth. I was then not much taller than the crickets.

Puffing up, I thought, “But I will outlive these insects and watch the leaves fall from the trees. They will die with the winter frost, and I will be here with my family. I am no sojourner.”

Of course the leaves will return, as will the insects. When the ground thaws again it will bring new colors and sounds.

My children’s children will see and hear them too, and feel the same dull sense of fear as they walk through some distant night.


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