There is something magical about night time when you live in the country. I realized this when our family moved a few miles outside of town. The nights weren’t the same I knew growing up in the suburbs of a big city. The darkness was different. It was velvety, black, country darkness. The sky was dotted with a million stars. The bright moon made shadowy patterns on the ground.
The Little Lathams were like all children in that they loved to be outside after dark. This was allowed most often when family and friends gathered. The adults enjoyed the visit so much they ignored the clock. Hiding and chasing games normally played during the day had an increased element of fun in the dark.
When the children had tired themselves out with running games, someone would suggest dancing in the moonlight. It was my job to provide music. The children gathered and begin to dance. They swirled and twirled. They joined hands and locked elbows. Sometimes they choreographed medieval looking line dances to do over and over again. This activity was usually limited to the girls, but I do remember boys occasionally joining in the fun. They would spin until they fell laughing in the grass collecting chigger bites.
I like to recall one fall night in particular. It was a night our family attended an annual harvest party with friends. The kids all wore costumes. There was a common theme among the girls that year. Fairies, princesses and fancy ladies were in high attendance.
Toward the end of the night, things began to wind down. Little ones were showing signs of weariness. I realized we had forgotten our tradition of dancing in the moonlight. As I stood on the porch of the house, I saw several of the girls making their way down a gentle hill. They were in groups of two or three walking towards the bon fire. I decided to turn on the music, hoping to get their attention. When the sound reached their ears, not one of them looked back to see where the music had originated. They didn’t even look at one another. They all just lifted their arms and began dancing.
Suddenly, a group of tired looking little girls was transformed. They became naiads, dryads, and pixies. The hillside was covered with floating, twirling figures. The fire glowed behind them making their costumes shimmer.
I looked around to see if anyone else was watching. I was alone. I was the only witness to this beautiful sight. A little Vivaldi, a little gossamer, and little girls dancing in the moonlight…I have no doubt there is something magical about night time in the country!