It was 2am and I was still half asleep as I made my way downstairs to the bathroom. But when I saw the moon light filling the kitchen window and lighting up the floor, I was suddenly wide awake.
How could I go back to sleep when the moon was shining on the night like it was daytime. I felt like it was calling to me. “Look ,” it said “I’ve lighted the night world so you can see what goes on when you sleep, come see what is usually invisible.” I’ve passed up this invitation before, but last night, without a thought, I walked out the back door. I brushed the cat hair off the rocker and sat, gazing at the moon and the way it lit up the mist in the pasture. The crickets were singing as soft as the mist and Route 22 was quiet for a change.
After a while I heard Jon in the kitchen, he came out on the porch looking for me. When I told him I just wanted to sit with the moon, he didn’t think twice, and after a while more, when I went upstairs to put on a pair of pants and a sweatshirt, he also understood.
I wanted to see the donkeys and sheep at night. I wanted to enter their world in a way I never had before. I found them in the side pasture. They were shadows in the mist, but I could see the donkey’s ears go up as they approached me. Did they know it was me? I stood still and let them come closer, I said “It’s me,” yet they still seemed agitated. Maybe because I was unexpected, or maybe because it was the night.
The sheep huddled around me then nervously withdrew, and when I squatted they came back. Tess sniffing my hair, until something I didn’t hear or see startled Simon. He bucked and all the animals ran away from the woods towards the road. I stood up and listened then heard the coyotes in the distance, barking and yipping. The mist was getting thicker, and moving closer, I could no longer see the telephone pole on the road, or the trees bordering the pasture. It was eerie and I was glad to be close to the house, the back pasture and woods seemed a scary to me.
And then, Simon was at my side. He pressed his neck against the back of my legs and circled his head, which was down, around the front of my legs. He had never done this before, it felt like a hug, like protective arms around me.
Then he lifted his head, ears up towards the woods where the sound of the coyotes came from, and we stood together, while the sheep and Fanny and Lulu grazed a few feet away. We stayed that way, watching and listening, I found myself crying and wondering why. When I started to get sleepy, I kissed Simon’s forehead, thanked him, and went to back to bed.
I’m not really sure what happened last night. As strange as it may sound, living in the country and surrounded by animals, I felt disconnected from the natural world. I felt the urge to be in nature in a way I haven’t been in a long time. To be surrounded by trees or touched by the moon. To remember that I am a part of it, as much as the soil, and mosquitos, the donkeys and the moon.