Thursday, June 19, 2008

Night on the Ridge

Last night I had a storytelling performance at a faith-based youth work camp near Hamlin, West Virginia. The performance went well; I loved hearing the kids chanting, "Granny Sue, Granny Sue!" when I was finished.

The drive home was tough. I was tired; my normal day starts at 5:30 am and ends around 11pm. But last night I didn't get back to the ridge until 11:30. The moon was full and the sky had only drifts of clouds floating. Tired thought I was, I stopped up on the high knob a few minutes to watch the moon and listen to the night.

It's different at night on the hill. During the day there are dogs barking, people out and about, maybe the sounds of heavy equipment as another gas well is drilled or the state road crews are at work. But at night, it's different.

A faint breeze rustled the hay in the field that has not yet been cut, and a deer barked at my intrusion. Far down Bucket Run, a great horned owl called her lonesome cry. The clouds crossed lightly over the moon, and the light on the soft gray hills shifted and glowed with shadows. One light, two, three--Sharon's, Rick's, and Mark's were the only lights in sight, and theirs were soft porch lights that respected the importance of darkness.

I stayed and listened, filling both my mind and my ears with the night. The air was soft, a caress that lifted my hair gently and brought the sweet scent of honeysuckle on its fingers. I wanted to stay right there for the rest of the night.

I couldn't do that, of course. Day brings demands of work and home that need me to be rested and ready. But those few minutes on the hill in the dark were indescribably reviving, reminding me of why it is that I drive so far and work so hard to stay here.

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