Hiking on Sunday

Sunday afternoon.  Church services attended.  Noon meal consumed.  Momma & Daddy napping.  A beautiful spring day and I am in no need of rest.  I am young and love to explore, walking randomly as my mind fills with dreams as beautiful and airy as the clouds waltzing their way across azure skies.

I tell no one where I go, not knowing this myself.  The family dachshund, Buster, follows.  Being full of energy and nosiness, he loves an adventure as well as me.  I say nothing, enjoying the silent comrade as he swishes through the growing brush; watching as he jumps above vegetation taller than him.  I know he searches for rabbits.

We make our way across the pasture behind the house, then, across plowed fields further west. ¬†The exercise feels good. ¬†The sun’s heat is like a gentle hand placed on my shoulder, urging me toward the tree line that follows the Middle Sulphur River. ¬†Back then, it was a creek to me. ¬†It seemed too narrow and shallow to be a river. ¬†Rivers were big and dangerous; swift of current, gurgling up debris swallowed up by recent storms. ¬†This river was humble and boasted no such excitement. ¬†It’s debris consisted of trash thrown off a nearby bridge. ¬†Shallow pools separated by dry earth were its bottom. ¬†It was here that my brother and I sometimes fished for the mud catfish that survived in meager waters.

The trek through the thick brush to get to the banks of the river was something only the determined would attempt.  Mesquite trees with long, dangerous looking thorns and innocent-looking vines with needle-like stickers reached out and grabbed at my sleeves and pant legs; often penetrating and leaving hair-thin red scratches on my skin.  My arms reached out and bent tender limbs as I made my own path.  I ducked my head and sometimes felt the pull of my hair as it got caught.

Finally, we reached the river.  We made our way down the steep bank and headed north.  I knew this direction would lead me to the wooden bridge that spanned its width, where the trees bowed their heads together above and filled me with awe. I did not take into consideration the winding course the river took. What seemed to be a short distance, took much time to cover; like a winding road up a mountain.  I had not counted on the pools of water, either, that I would have to skirt which meant climbing up and down the steep banks of dirt, holding onto tree roots and vines to keep from rolling back down again.  Buster was not bothered with this, but simply splashed his way through; cooling off and enjoying a good shake as water sprayed around him.

A sense of fear came over me. ¬†I felt that it was taking too long to reach the bridge. ¬†The darkness of the wooded area fueled my imagination. ¬†What if I got bit by a snake? ¬†What if I fell and broke my leg? ¬†No one knew where I was. ¬†They wouldn’t even be alarmed until supper time if I didn’t show back up at the house. ¬†The joy I had felt at being on my own had been overshadowed by the fear feeding in my head. ¬†Not wanting to go back through the brush, I trudged forward, carefully watching each step, although trying to quicken my pace.

Finally, the old wooden bridge came into view and the fear left my mind like a window had opened up for it to pass through.  I climbed once more up the steep earth and made my way to sit on the edge of the bridge, dangling my feet over the side to take in my victory.  Buster took it all in stride, ever hunting and scouting.  He came to my side panting his happiness.  He knew we would be fine all along.

Moonlit Memories

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The moon came a little closer.  I think the man who lives there was mildly curious about what had been keeping me.  My visits to spy on him have been more rare these days.

It is awing, is it not? ¬†This relationship we form with the light God formed in the nighttime sky? ¬†We gaze at him in ways we are not allowed to with his older brother, the sun. ¬†He seems to enjoy the attention and changes his look to spur us on in our beholding. Sometimes he glows with the color he borrowed from the sun. ¬†Sometimes he is blue, silver, or eerily white. ¬†When he is full of himself, he shows his smiling face and we smile back. ¬†He’s infectious that way.

For me, his appeal comes with the memories we have shared. ¬†You may feel the same. ¬†It’s like watching a movie that seems to have stolen bits of your life and played them out for all of the world to see. ¬†You cry, not because of the character’s woes, but because their misery has pricked you with memory’s sharp thorn.

*I see my love, lit with lunar glow, bowing his head towards mine.  The fields are almost clear as day and my gown glows as if heavenly.  What romance can not succumb to such a setting?  What heart can help but beat a little faster?

*The ocean beats upon the shore.  Waves try to reflect the moon.  Water, ever-changing, distorts its image but the abstract is just as lovely.  Stars twinkle and wink, hoping to distract my attention.

*Lying spread out flat on St. Augustine mattress. ¬†The blackness above letting bits and pieces of heaven’s glory spark above me. ¬†Lightening bugs float starlike above the earth, on the same plane as me. ¬†My friend, The Man on the Moon, grins as my mother calls me to come inside.

He has been companion to midnight walks, camping trips, solitary swims, and cries in the abyss. His surface reflects his surroundings and his shape nightly transforms.  He is a lot like me, only he is silent, rock-hard, and strong.  He remains true to us all whether we pay him any attention, or not.

I am happy he came a little closer the other night. ¬†I’ll try to be more faithful in my nocturnal visits and more grateful for the moonlit memories.