With a full moon, and a cool night full of stars and stillness, a walk in the woods is a good idea. I slip away, slowly, quietly, so even the dogs do not realize I am gone. The cell phone stays behind, too, for this is something strictly between starlight and myself, and the trees.
Years ago, when Bert and Sam were the only two dogs here, and the only two there had been, I went out in the woods, in the cool night, but the wind was already awake, and the clouds roamed the sky.
They cast great moving shadows on the ground, did the clouds, and I could see their shade moving through the woods, over the pond, and full moon light in between, and as one of the shadows reached me, I thought, “A great beast has passed over me, and left me unharmed,” for they seemed alive in a way that matters.
Tonight the sky is full of stars, empty of everything but the moon and her slow dance across the sky, and the reflection of light from yet another star, but one much closer. I must do this, betimes, for the creatures in the woods need to know I am here, this is my place, and also, I do no harm when I am afoot with stars overhead.
The moon tosses a thousand acres of light over the woods, and the trees soak in the gentle balm of autumn, the harsh summer now removed. I stand in the moon shade of a tree older than any human who ever lived, who might have been an acorn when this nation was born. There is no photograph, no painting, no reproduction of produced by our species that can relate this to you. Being in the presence of such a giant, of a creature with no worries or wants, or greeds, or needs, yet larger than any other tree I know, and mightier than humans will ever make, is humbling in a way that should matter to our species.
We will die because it does not, to far too many.