Tiny Footsteps

Rain began in the night, the first we’ve had in a long time – unusual in Vermont where rain is often ubiquitous. I lay awake in the night, listening to the storm wash over the roof, listening to the wind and water blow in from the east. We’ve lived in this house such a short time that rain on the roof is still new to us. In our former house, the roof was so poorly insulated, weather pounded hard on the metal, and the girls and I find ourselves listening in this house: what’s happening?

I got up and went downstairs and outside in my bare feet, leaning against the house in the dark, sheltered from the rain beneath the porch’s overhang. In our old house, I often went outside in the night, and learned how to walk in darkness so pitch I couldn’t see my moving feet or, some nights, even my own hand held before my face. I drove away fear of darkness many years ago, and came to know the sparse starlight as a companion, the darkness rich with nocturnal forest life all around us.

Here, there’s plenty of wild, too. We’re just above a steep ravine with a stream, choked with trees, singing with verdant avian life. In the night, I leaned against the house, wondering who else in town was awake in this little hour, listening to the rain.

Western wind, when wilt thou blow,
The small rain down can rain?

– Anonymous


2 thoughts on “Tiny Footsteps

  1. The night has much to offer that many of us miss. I am guessing it was caring for horses for so many years, but as an adult the darkness has never bothered me. I love to pause when out late with the dog to breathe in the night. The quiet of nighttime helps me to reconnect to the earth somehow.
    For a few years when my daughter was younger I tried to allay hear fears with “there is nothing out there in the dark that isn’t there during the day”. I guess we all need to go through that instinctual wariness of what we cannot see. Maybe this is one of those measures of growth that life gives us. She has passed this growth milestone because her new favorite family activity is “night walks”.
    I am happy to know that somewhere up North there is another soul embracing the night.

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