This past weekend was a wonderful time for an impromptu midnight hike.
We set out Friday at 11:30pm, bundled up as much as possible. The sky was clear, not a cloud in sight, and the moon glowed brightly, illuminating the path before us and eliminating any need for a flashlight. It was calm and quiet, the only sounds coming from the gentle crunch of our boots and our steady breathing. The wind whistled softly around us, creating a musical symphony of soft howling and creaking trees. As we neared the top of the mountain the stars became brighter, scattered across the darkness of the night sky.
These are the nights that I live for. When the only views you have are an open night sky and mountains surrounding you in every direction. A sense of calm fills me as breath in the cold air. I shiver as the wind picks up and pierces the layers that were meant to keep me warm. We’ve reached a clearing, an overlook that watches over the city miles away, softly illuminating the horizon with a warm orange glow. I look up in wonder and immediately locate my favorite constellation, Scorpio, then search for the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper and navigate my way through the sky in hopes of recognizing more constellations. Then I see it, a streak of light, flashing its way across the sky. I hold my breath, hoping for more. My wish is granted.
I am lost in the sights. The wind has picked up, a strong forceful wind now, pushing itself around me, promising to push me over if I’m not careful. All I can hear is the desperate howling and screaming of the wind. All I care to see is the sky, filled with sparkling stars and occasionally a meteor creates a path of light through the darkness of the sky. In this moment nothing else matters. It doesn’t matter that the cold is stinging my face and ears, and that, despite the gloves, my fingers are growing steadily colder. It doesn’t matter that the wind is piercing my layers of clothing, fiercely attacking me with the cold. It doesn’t matter I’ve had a long week and am exhausted. It doesn’t even matter that I have to wake up early. All that matters is that I am here. I am free. I am home.
For those of you that missed the Geminid Meteor Shower this weekend check out these images here. I didn’t have the gear necessary to capture any photographs, but I’m glad because it allowed to me to focus on enjoying the experience and soak it in as much as possible.