My friend had said that they would be out of the woods about dark. That’s when I pulled in, me and my healing knee, my bike hanging dusty at home. As I had driven over the ridge between there and here, the sun was setting. That hued cacophony of light quickly moved west. Its passing marked the time that we were supposed to vacate the dirt-road parking lot.
We broke out camp chairs. We cracked beers.
Our rebellion causing no concern, we sat long enough to watch the moon glide through the high crotch of a bare beech, its branches a black lacework against the marine-blue sky. A north wind scudded the clouds overhead, their shadows a running tarnish on the silver ground.
It was cold, but we shrugged off winter’s entropy and traded warmth for an hour of companionship. A hiker’s headlamp flickered through the trees on the far side of the valley, telling us we weren’t alone in the pleasure of a winter evening. Nearly so, though. Three cars passed by, the drivers intent on home. Jets passed over, their red lights alien, the people in them utterly remote from our reality.