I don’t typically feel surrounded or trapped. Especially by the night. Or even simply by silence. It is so infrequent in my life that when I experience it (like I am tonight) it’s unsettling at first. The night itself envelopes me in a feeling unlike any other. It encloses me in its blanket of darkness. Intellectually, I know it’s the same environment I was in mere hours before. But it’s different. In my bones, the overwhelming sense of being alone makes it different.

As I walk along the pier to the outermost dock, I hear popping sounds. Sounds that, at a distance, sound like the pop rocks we used to throw down as kids. Up close, however, I realize it’s the packed mud underneath the pier expelling oxygen. Almost like it’s breathing. Pops here and there pepper the otherwise silent soundtrack.

I look up as I continue walking. And I am amazed to see the stars. They are so clear and so bright. They are so beautiful that I can’t even describe it. A picture from my phone does it even less justice than words would. The Little Dipper. The Big Dipper. The North Star. The moon shining so brightly it leaves a trail when I look away. I don’t normally see this living in the city. I am mesmerized by the simplicity of it all.

The dock gently sways with the water beneath, and I can hear small fish surfacing and re-diving every now and again. It’s warmer than it was this afternoon. I guess the wind in the area has died down quite a bit.

I stand in the middle, just…being.

Minutes pass. An hour.

The feeling remains.

Weariness kicks in. After a long day of driving and a couple of drinks with dinner, I can feel the exhaustion coming quickly. I turn to walk back down the pier toward the house. Halfway down though, I stop.

How often do I get the opportunity to just be? When it’s just me, the darkness, the silence, and a pier? I turn back to walk again toward the dock.

This is the time, Lee. To soak it in. To feel the warmth surround you. Relish the darkness. The solitude. These are the times to remember when stress levels peak. When it seems like you can’t catch a break. And the world seems to be against you.

That is what has brought me to this place. This magical place of solace. And mud popping. And star gazing.

It is time.


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