I step out the front door, into the night. The wind slams down the street. If this were the big city, it would be howling against the sides of the buildings, using their resistance to strengthen its fury. Here it shakes the trees, their leaves rustling so loud and forcefully that it sounds like rain is pounding down. I step away from under the eaves, down the short cement path. The light beside the front door reaches its limit a few feet ahead, only just beyond where the path turns sharply to the right and toward the driveway. My shadow looms before me, huge and monstrous. The wind hits, rushing down the street, and the tree beside me roars out a battle cry. Its branches hang above me, arching over the path. The leaves look nearly black. Where the lantern shines on them they are rich, dark red.
I stop at the edge of the path, still in the tree’s shelter. The sky is vast, piercing blue. Midnight blue, navy blue, lapis lazuli – the color is endless as only the sky can be. Stars shine like holes in the endlessness, fierce white fire. The street is not dark, for all the lamplight cannot reach it. The stars are too bright for that.
The wind comes in waves, in rushes. The rain-thunder sound of thrashing trees comes from all around. I hesitate to go any further, to leave the protection of the branches above me. I almost don’t dare. Finally I take just two steps forward and look up, at the distantly familiar map of the stars. They shimmer brilliantly, and I smile at the sight of them. I don’t linger, staying only just long enough to fill my eyes with stars before I retreat once more to the safety of my tree. The wind slams me, and the night feels full of intent, the wind and the trees and the stars and the sky all echoing with the same wild force. I look out into the night and it thrums, reckless and alive.