A new year is starting up and I was planning to write a clever blog about not writing new year resolutions. Then I read one, two, a hundred other blog articles about not writing resolutions, so much for that clever idea. My next idea was to write about setting goals for the new year until I saw the articles about setting goals and guidelines instead of resolutions. Apparently there are some common themes with writers at this time of the year.

Party hats and noise makers

So instead of writing about the new year, goals, resolutions, lists, etc, I’ll write about my walk during the full moon. I am fortunate enough to be living in Southern California where we are enjoying seasonably warm weather as opposed to the deep freeze temperatures in the rest of the country. It is odd for the weather to be this warm, with the highs in the 70’s, even in the 80’s which makes for a very strange December and January. Usually we have a ‘week of winter’ right after Christmas, with freeze warnings and highs in the 50’s but not this year.

Getting back to my walk, it was in the 60’s outside, which is much pleasanter than below freezing temperatures. I stepped out on the porch and stopped to see what was visible in the moonlight. We don’t have streetlights in our neighborhood, so the only light is from the houses or the night sky. The moon was high enough to act as a giant street light although the shadows of our pine tree covered the driveway. Ribbons of clouds were drifting in front of the moon, hinting at rain but not delivering on their promise.

Party hats with noisemakers

I walked to the edge of our driveway and stopped to admire the Christmas lights still up at our neighbor’s. The bright lights always seem like a brave show against the darkness, a way to ward off the dangerous beasts that we fear lurking in the night. I then turned to walk along the road, the moonlight allowing me to see enough to keep from stumbling. There was the faint sound of crickets and the distant whoosh of cars on the highway. As I passed by houses, lights shone from the windows, and more Christmas lights sharing a cheeriness from the season just past. In the distance, I heard an owl hooting, then just the crickets and traffic sounds.

I walked to our mailboxes, lonely outpost for storing our mail after delivery. The owl continued to hoot and in the distant I thought I heard a dog or maybe a coyote barking. I disliked disturbing the quiet with my steps on the gravel, the sound seemed out of place. As I looked up, I could see the moon peeking through the clouds, but the stars were hidden by the ribbons of clouds and the brightness of the moonshine. The mountains were silhouettes in the distance, their true color hidden in a blanket of grays and black.

I turned around and walked back, stopping when I heard a rustle on the side of the road. Some small creature moving off, afraid of me when I couldn’t even see what it is. I continued walking and heard something moving away from me. When I reached our house, I went into our backyard, listening again as my shoes crunched on the gravel and dirt. Stopping underneath our oak trees, hearing leaves drop to the ground and more rustling of something moving away from me.

Wine bottles in basket with grapes

Finally, I turned back to the house and returned to the light and the warmth inside. I enjoyed my break from the noise and confusion, even if only for a short time. I wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope you find what you are seeking while enjoying the company of family and friends along the way.

Photos by J.T. Harpster