The mood of the lake at midnight was like the waters it contained. Moonlight from a full moon flowed on the pebbles and the watercress at shore, raining a slow, silvery life. The drops of light on the waters moved in brief circles like pupilless, enchanted eyes that wanted to see everything. It ran from the rocks to gather in still pools without ripples. It dripped, faster than mercury, between the earth and moon in an instant, but also slow like a merely soft silver, melted but almost solid; a luminous molten glow that poured over all – but did not burn.
The wind found the hollows of trees and made them whistle in mournful longing. For what I could not hear: it was in the language of trees. The leaves rubbed each other like crickets with legs only, broad and flat, their soft, green song adding chorus to the melancholy. The wind passed me as I stood; I watched the branches groan with age, the saplings bend before a greater force. The turn of the trunks, the rough bark, had changed a note in the wind. It reached my ears and whispered secrets, caressing my face as it did so. I knew I loved the wind at that moment; perhaps its answer is what I heard.
I walked further to find an empty field, a clearing perfectly round to my eyes. The wind had no chords for voice in that place; it spoke in words of touching silence. The short grasses spread in ripples toward the other side. I stood among them, an obelisk in that moment illumined by the moon, my brow smoothed by the hand of wonder, my eyes tracing out movement where there were only hints and guesses. I saw in my mind’s eye the life of the place opened out before me: the creatures in their burrows, or hunting; the insects out of sight on the wing; the unmoving eyes that watched from behind trunks and leaves. I was a swimmer in a different lake, of silence and space, with the secrets of another world suspended to wait my passing. I moved on.
Gradually I found a place for camp, footsteps slowing in the silence, the night breeze, this walking at the bottom of a moonlit sea of peace. I found a place to lay my head, and grasses for a pallet under me. A silvered cloud made the night real for a moment. For dreams, I left this place of all sensations but the sights and sounds of tranquillity.