Some prefer the piercing quiet of winter nights, snow shimmering on the ground as moonlight filters through the glazed branches of iced trees. Some prefer the crisp rustle of autumn evenings, leaves whispering to one another in wind smelling of smoke and spice. Some prefer the still-cold air of spring, dim light outlining the graceful petals of blooms, their sweet scents drifting on the breeze.
For me, though, true beauty lies in a summer’s night.
Starlight filters through green leaves, turning them silver and grey. It dapples the forest floor as my boots step quietly across damp leaves that smell of growing things. Warm air tousles my pale hair, caressing my cheek and neck as I place my hand on the rough bark of a tree, breathing in the smells of summer—of life.
It’s times like these that I forget the constant threat that lurks within the darkness, the dead that rise and rise again. I can ignore the politics of the settlement and the shadows that draw closer, creeping into my thoughts. I can pretend that I’m just an average Bay Walker, out for a night’s stroll amid warmth and moonlight. It’s times like these that I cherish. After all, beauty is rare; it should be admired when you encounter it.
My steps take me from the nearby forest and out onto the dirt road that trails through town. For once, I don’t run; there’s no need. The sleepy sounds of murmured chatter float through the air from the nearby Kennel office, and a smile crosses my face. They’re bedding down for the night in the building, for once not pestered by nearby threats.
I continue to walk, leaving the road to emerge in the nearby field. Grass whispers across my ankles and legs, ripples flowing across the landscape with the wind. A few crickets chirp, silencing briefly as I pass. In the background, there’s the constant thrum of insects, a chorus that breaks the stillness of the night.
I finally make it to the center of the field and look upward, taking a deep breath of clear air. Above me, there’s all of space and time. Stars sparkle across the night sky, glittering within the sea of darkness. I stretch one pale hand upward, stretching out my fingers as I examine the stars between them. I’ve often wondered what they are: glow bugs, lost souls, the lights of passing ships. It’s a question that I don’t think I’ll ever answer.
A wry smile passes my face and I quickly lower my hand. The night is beautiful, yes, but there are things to do—there always are.
My feet step across the field and down the road again. After all, there are miles to go before I sleep.