I think my favourite element of microadventures is that they encourage us to take an ordinary activity and do it somewhere (or some way) else - sleep in a bivvi in the woods instead of a bed, jump in a stream instead of having a shower, walk through fields to work instead of catching the bus. To meet Allysse’s October challenge (explore the darkness), we decided to go for a night walk, then cook our dinner in the woods
The clocks went back on Sunday. After a pastel pretty sunset, it was dark by 5:30pm. We chopped up some mushrooms and spring onions, sprinkled a few spices on them and packed them up in a plastic container. They went in the bag along with a couple of rolls and some eggs, a thermos of tea, two cupcakes and a tiny jam jar full of whisky. We took the camp stove and a frying pan, torch and camera and set off to our local woods.
In the west, the sky was still tinged green. The moon was almost full, floating behind the treetops. The night was clear, though the sky was tiger-striped with high, translucent ice clouds. Soon, the first stars winked open above us.
It was strange to walk in a familiar place at night. Time felt stretchy. The last leaves of autumn hung stark and silhouetted in the white moonlight. We peered down a few of the unofficial, narrow trails that slip off the wide main track and wind deeper into the woods, but we didn’t follow them - the moonshadows made our familiar path strange enough already.
We came to a clearing and saw a faint, faintly rainbowed, moon dog in the sky to the right of the moon itself. A few minutes later, I turned to look behind and found a bright satellite tracking up through the space between the trees on either side of the path.
At a handy bench, we set up our stove and cooked our tea. It was fun to sit quietly with the faint blue glow of gas and the sizzle of mushrooms to keep us company. Although our scrambled egg and mushroom rolls weren’t the most gourmet of meals, we both agreed they tasted better out here than they would have tasted at home. We followed the rolls with cupcakes and tea - and finished off with a few sips of whisky.
Three stars hung like Christmas decorations in a shallow triangle over the tops of three trees. Over the course of our dinner, they moved out of alignment, slipping down to the right. Two faint satellites crossed overhead in parallel. Aeroplanes passed - some low enough to see the glow outlining the fuselage, some so high that their winking lights were small as stars. The night sky is busy with happenings. It’s easy to forget if you don’t go out and stargaze, or if you live somewhere with a lot of light pollution.
The moon seemed very bright as we packed up and walked back, and we joked that this was hardly “exploring the darkness”. But when I tried to take a photo of our shadows, stretched out on the path ahead, the camera didn’t capture a thing. The night had become darker; our eyes had adjusted.
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