Night time. The pitch black of the night – or in my case, about as close as you can get when punctuated by the various street-lights and houses around you. For the past few nights, I have been wandering outside and sitting out by the stone circle in my backyard, just as I do when the sun comes up. And once the back yard settles down from my noise entrance through the patio door, the sounds of the night begin anew.
Occasionally, the whoosh of a car goes by on the street just beyond the fence, hurtling its occupants to destinations I can only guess at. Once, a jogger strode past on the sidewalk, pulling his canine companion along – the fluorescent tape on the clothing making an eerie yellow glow in the night as the street light catches the material just right. And through it all, I sit. Watching, listening, marveling. The night has many secrets.
The first time I did this, I went out shortly after the sun had set. The twilight was marked by the noisy chattering and chirping of grackles bedding down for the night in a nearby copse. The neighbors were just starting to head inside after a day of lounging by their pool. Slowly, the night was enveloped by the deafening roar of quiet. I live a few miles from one of the busiest interstates in the United States – silence is nearly impossible, even this far from that heavily traveled road. When the quiet finally arrived, the crickets took to singing their song of welcome for the night, while I gazed skyward. Skyward, hoping for a glimpse of…clouds. I had forgotten to check the forecast to see what kind of night I would have. Instead, I sat and focused on the sounds of the night. Particularly the soft whoosh of the wind caressing the leaves of my backyard giant.
The second night was much the same. On the first and second nights, there was a smell of rain in the air. I do not know how else to describe it. It *smelled* like water, fresh water. Not the heavy smell of chlorinated water which occasionally wafts over the fence line from the neighbor’s house, if the wind is just right. Its the same smell you get right after a nice, soothing, cool rain on a hot Summer day. The third night was different though.
The weather pattern for the area had pulled much of the cloud cover to the East. And this night, I was treated to a view of the night sky. There were wisps of cloud accentuating the sky in various places, so it was not a completely clear picture. But I could see the Moon in all of her glory. Somewhere between full and three-quarters, hanging in the sky like a lopsided yellowish melon doing its best imitation of a piñata. Waiting for a stick to rise through the air and score a direct hit – showering the world in my favorite candy – Milky Way candy bars!! Oh if it were just true!
It was the stars that held my gaze the longest. I could only imagine how much life there was beyond the world that we live in. Surely, this could not be the only location that sustains life? And how would we define life? Ah, such wonderful questions of philosophy running around in my brain, as I watch the unmoving will o’ the wisps high in the dark velvet fabric above me. Even sitting here in the backyard of my home in suburban Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas – I find myself easily transported several years back. Laying in the back of my Ford Ranger pickup truck with the tailgate down, legs dangling over the edge of the tailgate. My date and I watching the night stars while we talked back and forth about whatever subject came to our minds. Our location was a country road fifty to sixty miles out side of the west of Fort Worth – out in the country. Any subject was on the table – whatever came to your mind at the moment. And then it was explored, discussed, analyzed. We stayed there until the sun came up to our East, reminding us both that we needed to find food and then a bed for sleep. A magickal time, a magickal moment. One that is etched deep in my memory. The night does have this effect on me. There are deep memories attached to this period of time, when the Sun is caressing the opposite of the globe, and the Moon reflects His brilliance onto the darkened side – to remind us that the Sun is going to be back.
Like many a Pagan before me, I have stepped out into the environment around me, intent on finding the Spirits and the Gods – and occasionally I am lucky enough to do so. But there’s also magick to be found, the magick of memories. And there is also magick to be made, which will become even deeper magick of the memories. The Gods, the Spirits, the Magick – its all around us. We just have to be quiet enough and still enough to let that under-current reach us.