The Mighty Viking

Conquering those things we must, one story at a time

Silent Night

The summer night is silent – not like that “holy night” kind of silent, but rather without the singing, and the lowing, and yon virgins. Instead, a ghostly fog has risen up, backlit by a nearly full rising moon. Creeping up out of the shadows of the bog-land in the bend of the nearby river, beneath and through the trees it moved slowly through the still air. It spread an aura over the night, not quite sinister, but quiet enough that the silent place where the night winds normally blow were filled only with the occasional yip of a distant dog, the drop of languishing pine cone to the forest floor, and the padding of my two companions paws in the volcanic soil. The dogs tested the silence with thoughtful snuffles as we shambled along the fence line, taking in this emptiness and waiting with all the rest of nature for someone, something maybe, to speak.

The highway traffic from 3 miles away was hushed, blocked and shushed by the skulking cloak of fog. And so we stood, we three, beneath The Pines, waiting on the night. An eternity passed before us, with only the moon for its spotlight.

The fog had pushed as far as the house, a thin and shallow blanket, and I thought to bestir and go back inside. But something caught my ear just as I began to step forward. Mollie sprang up, ready to run, and even Ol’ Charlie lumbered back to his feet.

The wind.

It was coming.

The delicate silence balanced the wind’s advance as gently as a new father. I tracked it by its sound over the crest of the Butte, down the hidden slopes, and across the vast expanse of treetops. A full two minutes after the first whispers filtered through the trees, the wind swept through like -well, like Mollie, the cavorting puppy eager to run back and forth along the fence out of sheer enthusiasm.

It swirled and whooshed like an impetuous child fresh from the school bus looking for a cookie.

And just like that, the bog-ghost was banished back to the river hollow. The film fell back from the night sky, and moon-shadows draped and played crisply on the forest floor of needles. The treehouse pines creaked and groaned as they swayed against the lumber. The frogs got back to work. Everything sounded once again as it should.

But yet, in the dark protected shadows leading down towards the river, a pale reflection still flits from tree to tree, a forgotten memory of a time when no human eyes were there to intrude, when no one thought ill of a mist silently cavorting in a child’s dance by the light of the moon.

I catch myself smiling a good night to this silent night. The quiet, pensive child with more to say than a dozen schoolbus children will return when the time is right.

Until we meet again, sweet child.

Sleep in peace.

 

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One Response to “Silent Night”

  1. Bodie P says:

    What a lovely, atmospheric, evocative piece.

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