Into the Darkness

On Sunday, I set off on a new adventure: a night hike through the redwood forest. I have always enjoyed hikes that end at dusk when the animals begin to venture out of the dense woods to forage. And so, I thought, why not do a hike that starts at dusk and ends in the moonlight?

We chose a night that had an almost-full moon (tonight it's full) and a spot that is far from roads and city noise: Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. As we set out, we saw a family of five deer. Not long after, I saw two rabbits munching on grass. And then, the owls started to sing. I absolutely love owls, and to hear them calling all through the hike was more magical than I could have imagined.

One of us commented that it felt like the forest was protecting us, looking out for us. I felt the same way. I can be a bit of a fraidy cat in the dark. I struggle when I can't see where I'm walking. But on this hike my anxiety, for the most part, took a vacation.

Although I knew it would be enchanting to walk through the forest at night, I did not anticipate the stillness and calm of the forest, the beauty of moonlight on the trunk of a towering tree, the silvery and slightly eerie way moonlight casts shadows. Standing in an open area of the forest, listening to the owls and seeing the moon and stars directly above...now that is what makes life beautiful.

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