Night Hike

Night Hike

The night hike is a great distance from me now, about two weeks into the past, but the colors of the light polluted sky still can line the walls of my shut eyelids. The coat of clouds which began as a yellowing navy churned into a too-bright-for-night grayish purple, darkening toward the edges of the horizon line. The startling ease with which I could see felt almost electric; I could faintly see, or maybe just fancy, a glowing ring of light around each of us walking through the open field, much like the glow from behind the silhouetted and barren trees against the clouds. It seemed necessary to step cautiously, slowly, and deliberately. I placed my heel against grass. Then, I attempted to press the rest of my sole flat against the muddy earth but the curve in my foot would not flatten against it, not even against the bottom of my shoe, and though this happens every step I take, this time I could feel the empty space below my skin. My toes finally connected with the grass — slowly, of course, as Mr. Bre-Miller had suggested — and as I pushed myself forward off the ground, I imagined it was the ground that propelled me forward, melding to the shape of my foot till it sprung back as the flat mud it was, sending my flying past footstep after footstep. We continued walking to the edge of forest, separated from the field with a small stream of rainwater from earlier that day. Behind my shoulder, the field was a haze, lit only by the pollution and warm yellow dots of homes in the distance. Ahead was not visible, for any hint of light was blocked by tall trees reaching above the path to embrace each other with their branches, entangling leaves and pine needles over our heads.

-Megan Smith


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