Last night, my daughters and I walked the neighbor’s child home in the dark. We had been outside for a while, playing a variation of tag with flashlights and laughter, resulting in the older daughter slipping on ice and lying elbows-down in mud. With the flashlights off, we walked along the muddy road beneath the starlight. The night was balmy for mid-March, suffused with the scent of thawing earth: a rich odor so pervasive it was a constant companion. The moon, a white curve, shone a pure, yellow-white light.
On the way home, we saw our house through the bare hardwoods, the strings of little lights the girls nailed along the eaves twinkling. We passed just one house along our road where a single light shone; they must have been gone. It was just the girls and the star-and-moonlight and the mud and I. The peepers are not stirring yet, and none of the woodland creatures called. Beneath our boots, the earth shifted, softening, giving up its winter frost. My older daughter said, I could walk forever, on a night like this.
This morning, watching a single robin tugging at our lawn, I thought of my older daughter, and how, before long, this girl will be on her womanly journey, walking different patches of earth – in boots, or sandals, or heels – beneath this same exquisitely beautiful sky. I opened the window and listened for birdsong, relishing the season we’re in.
What a strange thing! to be alive beneath cherry blossoms.