Someone cut a hole in the night sky, popped in the moon, and turned it up to the brightest setting. It’s a full moon like a flashlight and I am here for it.
After more than 200 miles in the saddle, it feels like we’ve pedaled into surreality – a faraway fairy tale despite being less than 50 miles from our overnight stop in Warrenton, Virginia. The moon pours its illumination all around, like an electric blanket that’s slightly on fire. Moonlight everywhere, sparkling up the night hours.
The brightest moon I’ve seen in years it is perfectly full, brilliant. As the moon’s presence means the clouds and rain of earlier have finally (finally!) moved away from our route, I appreciate it even more.
This moon torch lights our way, and we pedal through the quiet countryside of evening hours. It’s that time of day when most people are settling in for the night, cozy and at home. We are so alone, I think.
But it isn’t true we’re alone. No way. Yes, we hear no car engines or wheels. No other riders are in our midst. But the absence of people only allows other natural movements and chatter of the night to come even more alive to our senses.
Peepers ribbit animatedly, their songs come to us from all sides. There must be a million of them out here, they have so much to say!
To complement the full moon canvas, lightning bugs drift and pulse over fields in the evening air. I wonder at their morse-code-like flickering.
Like our recent 400K, we hear the rustlings of critters and catch the eyes of the occasional nocturnal animal in our own headlight’s beam. With the full moon on our right, our tandem shadow dances to our left. Hello sweet shadow.
How lucky are we? I think of all the times where my position in the world has been just that little bit off. The sun rises behind us, and I can’t see it. The blue sky peeps out in the opposite direction we’re heading, and all our turns take us toward the storm clouds. Those times I sprint to what I am certain is the ideal perch to catch the sunset but miss it by that much. Almost in the perfect spot, but not quite there. Not so this night. Tonight, we are in the perfect spot, smack in the middle of a full moon fairy tale.
Perhaps some will scoff and say I exaggerate. There are no fairy tales in randonneuring, get real. And perhaps for them there are none.
My legs pedal squares from all the sawtooth rollers and earlier miles spent riding animatedly through rain, and I’m dirty and sweaty. The sublime envelops me anyway and I don’t want it to end. I want to bottle this fairy tale all up – the peepers, the possums, the fireflies, the moonlight, our shadow sidekick.
For a moment, I want to stop and pull out my camera from where I stored it, thinking it can be my bottle to store this time. But I discard the thought as I realize no camera is up to the task of capturing the fullness of this moment.
We absorb this night through eyes and pores and let its sensations and sights drift into our memories. Some future ride, we will call on this evening and use it as inspirational fuel.
For now, I scribble down fragmented recollections to remind myself of this exceptional night. so I remember how once upon a time, Felkerino and I rolled our way into a full moon fairy tale.