Suzanne loves to hike moonlit mountain trails, and her favorite hour for it is midnight.
To give her credit, there are few things so magical as the mountains on a moonlit night. The trees, the bushes, the rocks, and even the occasional animals, all look ghostly, enchanted.
Add to that, the charm of sometimes being able to come within a stone’s throw of wild animals, such as a herd of mule or whitetail deer. Mule deer — at 30 or 40 feet away in the night — are so well camouflaged they can barely be seen at that distance, even in moonlight. And once they spot you, they don’t flee, as they might during the day, but stealthily move off, as silently as they can.
Large, silently moving, dimly seen shapes have a short of eeriness to them. An eeriness that appeals to Suzanne like rain puddles to a child. She loves how the moon enchants the mountains.
For a few years, it was a dangerous assumption on my part to think I might get to bed early on the night of a full moon. If I were so foolish as to try it, there was at least a 50-50 chance that around 11:30 or so, the door would be shaken by an extraordinarily loud pounding. BAM! BAM! BAM! Ten seconds later. BAM! BAM! BAM! And so on every ten seconds until I answered the door.
Suzanne was never one to risk that I might miss out on the pleasure of crawling out of a warm bed near midnight to go hiking in fresh mountain air.
“Hi, Babe! Grab your coat! The Mountain King demands our presence at court.” I’m quoting her there. To Suzanne, things like mountain kings are within kissing distance of reality. She has one of the strongest imaginations for such things of anyone I know who does not actually and really believe in them.
So off we’d go to one or another trailhead. Seasons of the year didn’t matter to Suzanne. She was just as ready to hike a chilly summer night as she was to hike a freezing winter night. Often, we’d find at some distance down a trail a rock outcropping to sit or lie down on it in order — as she would put it — “to get a moon tan”. That’s when we’d softly chat — during the hikes themselves, we were usually as silent as the deer.
The hikes typically lasted two to three hours.