The cold wind blew down platform one as I stood waiting for the next train. My usual train came in a few minutes before but had been too crowded to board, so I let the really desperate-looking commuters get on. For all I know they might have a hot date to get home to be ready for, or something banal like Love Island. Bless. Anyway, so I accepted my fate and waited a few minutes more. With a screeching trundle, in it came. A few rosy red faces pressed up to the glass, though most heads were bowed like there was a minute’s silence for some tragedy. The smartphone tragedy. I hopped on and began to warm up.
An hour later, my understaffed chariot of despair ground to a halt at my stop. “Great!”, I thought. “I’ll get home, and go for that run that I’ve been plotting all day.” Then two things hit me when I stepped off the train. The first was the cold wind, and the second was reality. And they were both inextricably linked. To make matters worse, the house was warm, everyone was pleased to see me, even the cats, though I suspect they thought I’d brought food, and brutally, dinner was ready. As I shuffled past the shoe stand, I’m sure I heard my trainers laughing at me.
I settled down, ate my dinner, caught up with everyone’s day, then… wallop, like a pro, before I knew it, I was upstairs, pulling on my running shorts. A couple of layers to compensate for the inconvenience of cold weather, my head torch and an iron will later, I was gone.
Within a mile I had left the last lampost of town behind. Leaving its circle of light can be both exhilarating and unnerving. As soon as I turned off the main road, I was completely alone. The only thing I had for company was a nearly-full moon. Struck by its beauty and brightness, it took me back to a long-lost memory, one that I was happy to revisit, given my current life predicament. I switched off my torch and navigated by moonlight alone.
My mind stretched back, searching, using the visual clue of the moon as its bait. There it was, perhaps ten years ago, when I was in a much rougher place, my lowest ebb perhaps. Sleepless nights, occasionally glimpsing the full winter moon out of the window. It seemed strangely soothing to be able to see a distant satellite, countless miles away, and although feeling alone, I knew I was one of many gazing up at it at that precise moment.
Fast forward a year or two, and my troubles at that time required an escape. And that’s where nature came in. This whole other world of places, living things, occurrences, some of which are unexplained. I didn’t get much help from people, so I stopped looking, happy to surround myself in the outdoors. Even when I wasn’t actually in it, I’d be reading about it. And so began the shaping of who I am today.
I remember walking home from town from the pub to the village where I once lived, no street lights, again guided by the full moon. The pavement-less road like a silver ribbon ahead of me.
Everything at that time felt magic. Over the years I’ve lost that magic as there aren’t as many new things to discover; or maybe I stopped searching. From seeing the moon again like that, it rekindled a forgotten fire inside of me, so perhaps it’s time to search again.