At night, I love venturing along haunted back roads across moss, mere, and meadow. I’ve been doing a lot of this while writing stories and re-imagining some stories of my own. It’s experiential and sensory research, and the atmosphere, particularly of those starless, misty nights when you can barely see the road ahead, evokes a mix of emotions and a sense of facing one’s shadow.
The only life I regularly see on these lonely roads at night are hare and owl, shape-shifting beneath the disguise of darkness. There are moths, of course, and the fleeting glimpse of a mouse darting across the undulating and uncertain tarmac. On rare occasions, there is deer and hedgehog. Rarer still, a fox or badger. If I concentrate, I can shape-shift, too, and become the heartbeat of these wild creatures.
Here in West Lancashire, there have been so few blue sky days and so few crystal clear nights during autumn into winter, and the wall-to-wall cloud has hung over most like a coffin lid. Yet the darkest of these nights, when the sky has caved in, has provided fuel for the imagination and food for the soul. It’s been a call to go inwards, to dance with the darkness, and then emerge with that weird light shining from within.
Sometimes, the moon makes an appearance, and a few constellations, too, and the night-scape takes on a different appearance.
Day or night, there’s something about being on the road, constantly travelling, that appeals to my wandering soul. Everything is more intense and present, and it’s when I feel the most alive. And even when I reach home, wherever home happens to be, I see that the journey is what makes the difference.
Questions for you…
# Have you ever walked or cycled beneath moonlight? If not, when?
# What do you love most about night-time journeys?