Winter Nights On Foot

10 12 2011

I like to take walks in the country, preferably after dark.  I live in a country village and can set out in any one of half a dozen different directions and be out past houses and street lights rapidly.  I prefer it that way.

I usually walk about two miles, sometimes more.  I never carry a flashlight.  There are few houses, so virtually no other light but the light of the moon.  Or the snow, which has a way of lighting up the air on a really dark night.

My wife thinks I’m brave and a little crazy.  I go out without a cellphone or a weapon.  Out where the wildlife is—deer, rabbits, coyotes and unchained dogs.  I usually bring a walking stick, the same one I’ve had since 1986.  I keep time like a drummer.

I’m especially fond of walking in winter.  The bitter cold is a challenge.  And the stillness touches something deep inside me.  No crickets, few cars and no iPod.  One can stop for long periods of time and listen to the wind.  It’s my time to think, air out and pray.  Get some exercise.  And perspective

This is one of my favorite poems, penned by Robert Frost.  It reminds me of such winter nights.

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

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2 responses

10 12 2011
ebbtide

There’s something so absolute about the stillness of a winter night – and walking out into it holds a certain peace that I think is unique unto itself. I’m a little envious that you have that peace so close at hand. I’d have to drive quite a way to find that solitude.

10 12 2011
Christian Fahey

Thank you for this (Sarah?)! I agree, the stillness of winter is unique and enchanting.

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