This Shining Night

   The stars were muted, but still present, as if the cathedral arches they decorated had suddenly become much further away than usual. Branches meeting overhead kept us from seeing just how far they soared above us, these invisible pillars holding our galaxy away from us.  
    Snow dimly outlined dark hemlock boughs, and the crunch of our many footsteps slowed, stopped, We waited.  Softly the strains began, a choir in a woodland gently breaking twilight hush. "Sure on this shining night..." they sang, and I thought that this evening was more shadowy than shining. 

    Later, when the trees thinned and I whispered to her; "Are we still in our own century?", she laughed. It was the lack of color mostly, that made me feel that way. She felt the timelessness. We assumed British accents and discussed the possibility of our being in a place without time. It turned out that we mustn't have been, because a time arrived to return whence we came, and I followed the texture of our boot marks back through the trees melting into the snow.

   But somewhere along the line something began shimmering. And by the time he wondered if the distant glow was the moon rising, it didn't have to be, because the night was shining all around with the wonder of a walk through a winter night.   

  It has only now stopped echoing inside my head, and settled down into a lovely memory of trees and sound and friends all in one place, together.