Nocturnal Music of the Ozarks

When the night deepens in these hills, I float on a dark ocean sprinkled with the faint twinkling of diamonds. The shy moon perches on tiptoe above the gray foam of the far bluffs and small white clouds drift across its alabaster face like sailing sloops in a ghostly regatta.

In that silent deep, I float above the earth as if in a dream, my senses cloaked with the darkness, subdued to a reverence beyond all mortal language, as if I’m in a trance beyond the tug of gravity.  My mind floats with my body, somewhere above the trees and the old road that winds up through the hardwoods to those far bluffs.

It is an odd sensation to be part of the night in these green hills and somnolent hollows.  It’s as if my entire body is attuned to the far universe and my soul has found comfort in the dark woods that surround me on this old gravel road where my footprints fade in that pewter glow of the moon.  It seems as if I have escaped the grip of time and am on one of those sailing ships that glide across the sky just beyond my mortal reach.

There is some sort of ancient hymn sounding in my brain, a wordless song borne on the dark scarf of wind through the leaves, a scrap of black silk that floats down from the tall pines and wafts through the cedars like the wave of a friendly hand.

If I could hold these magic moments in memory for the rest of my earthly life, I would be grateful for that solemn gift and murmur a prayerful thanks to my creator with every breath on every passing day.

Yes, I am grateful for the night and its reverent hush and my gratitude goes beyond this time and place, and far into the uncertain future where eternity lies in wait like some golden-gowned bride atop a soft plush bed made of wistful mortal dreams.

Certainly I will cherish this night for all those times when the burden of life becomes a heavy weight on my shoulders.  For, this night cannot exist in a photograph or even in a letter to a friend.  It can only survive the short-lived span of memory until it is put into words and set to music.

For this night here in the Ozarks hills is a song that can be sung by a soloist or a chorus.  It can be played in orchestras on a world stage or hummed by a child at naptime or play.

This is my nocturne, and yours, this special night, this warm and graceful night where all is blended into an ebony tapestry that can never be erased or replaced.  It is just one night that can last for an eternity once all the words and notes are written down and passed along from one to another.

Yes, this is my nocturne and my song.  May it last as long as time exists and memory persists in universal consciousness.

Chopin.  Are you listening?

Pulitzer Prize nominee Jory Sherman is author of Hills of Eden.

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