I remember summer as a child. How the sun felt against my small bare body as I jumped into the small pool near my house and how the cold water, coming from artesian well, was always ice cold. Chasing fireflies across fields on the hill above my house. How the hot, humid days lasted a year and a half. How the stars burned in a black sky. Running across the alfalfa with my arms outstretched like I was flying.
I remember sneaking out of the house at midnight just to wander the pastures under the moon. I was never afraid of the dark. I thought I was the most dangerous thing out in the night.
But when I got older, I learned some snakes hunted at night. I learned someone shot a bobcat near my house. I learned bears still roamed the hills. There were rabid skunks and drunken hunters who spotlighted deer and could easily mistake a child for an animal.
The night stopped being my friend. As I grew older and moved into town, it became even threatening. Burglars and drug dealers, gangs and drunk drivers. Like everyone else, I mostly huddle in my house at night, lock my doors, and sleep with a loaded .357 near.
Still, sometimes I find myself wandering up the street in my neighborhood after dark. I carry a flashlight and a stout cane, but if I’m lucky, for a few minutes, when the wind rises and the moon is right, it feels like it did when I was child, when summer lasted forever and the night welcomed me under the million and one far away suns.