Went walking with my one of my ‘Sisters of Choice’, and the two little dogs Anya, and Styx into the woods.
Into the Dark, no moon yet, the stars most often obscured by tall evergreen treetops. It is night, like 9pm and full dark at this time of year. We walk deeper into the forest following a trail only the dogs can really see.
Periodically, I am blinded by the bright stabbing lights slashing the quiet trees.
I find my eyes, continually suspicious, keeping tabs on those sentry points of civilization. Porch lights on the houses that climb the hill to the left side of the paved road I figure. Probably not guard towers assigned to keep interlopers out of the state park at night.
The stretch of trail we follow runs under and to the right side of the paved road. We are winding upwards to the eventual designation of a parking lot, a grassy clearing and the trail system crisscrossing this range of hills covered in redwood, cedar, oak, and poplar.
The sign says no entry after dark and no camping…well we are not camping…we are definitely entering.
I flick on the flashlight, solid and heavy, in my hands. It is a comfort should I feel threatened by anything.
I flick it immediately back off. I don’t want to disturb the night dwelling forest with this unwelcome brilliant beam…and my eyes will adjust, if I give them time, to let in what light there is. I want to see the forest as the night creatures who live there do…or closer to it anyway.
The dogs are calm and happy. They never heard the rule about darkness and no entry. Such things are meaningless to them.
They can see more clearly (they are a lot closer to the ground) than I can. They can smell there are no dangerous predators around, human or otherwise. The trees and the dark don’t scare them.
I notice how clear and calm I feel in this confidence in my dogs’ senses. Thus, is the shape of our agreement.
I notice I am not afraid of the dark forest late at night. My civilization training wants me automatically to be afraid. The darkness pulls at hooks of implanted fear I didn’t know I had.
I notice I hesitated for a split second while I considered the choice of walking up the broad paved road lit by the houses’ insistent porch lights…or the shadowy dirt trail winding along-side and below the road.
I veer away from the broad spotlighted path in a visceral pull to be with the trees and the dark.
In the now of this moment my dogs are telling me full speed ahead! Go! Walk the trail, enjoy the trees and the stars and the feel of Earth soft under my moccasins.
I notice what I am most afraid about is the lights. Who is behind them? What do they intend, with these intrusions slicing the darkness and fucking with my night vision?
I notice my tension is most often with human people.