I stepped out onto the deck tonight, wrapped in my warmest robe. I shivered in the soft night wind, unwrapped as quickly as I could, and slipped into the stinging heat of the tub. I lay back, letting the briny water wash over my shoulders and aching neck.
The woods around our house were dark and deeply silent. Shadows danced as the wind bent the trees, like furtive creatures racing from trunk to trunk over the silvered snow. The full moon was rising, casting its cold light over the wetlands behind the stone wall.
I sat perfectly still, afloat in the steaming water. I tried to breathe without a sound. The wind picked up just a bit, splashing tiny droplets of ice cold water onto my face and arms.
For just a moment, with my back to the darkened house, I was all alone in the world. No sight of anything made by man: just the stars, the moon, the slate gray trees and glowing patches of snow. No sound of humans anywhere, just the wind in the pines and one distant barking dog. I breathed in deep; the air smelled of pine and snow and cold wind, as clean and natural as if it was earth’s first day.
For just a moment, I let my mind wander into the scenes of those dystopian novels that are so popular today. I let myself imagine that I was the only human left. I felt both the sadness and the freedom of that thought, and I let myself look for a moment at both.
I know that I am a supremely social being; I am near tears every day that I come home to a house where there are no children. I spend every long ride home planning which of the days events I will recount to my husband over dinner and a glass of wine. I live for the relationships that I have with my friends, my family, my students.
There is something so powerful and so mystical about those few moments when I can disconnect myself from the pull of other humans. There is something elemental and soothing and just so beautiful about the silence of that silvery winter moon.