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like ghosts in the night


;A strange luminosity breaches through the windows and awakes the shadows hiding amongst the walls. She wakes up at last, and the moment she opens her eyes she recognises the inescapable pastiness of that light. There is no other light like that. She lifts the curtain slightly to take a peek, but she knows what she will be finding on the other side of her window.

And there they are. She sees them even before she finishes lifting the muslin: snowflakes that fall inexorable and unforgiving, huge, soft and doughy and heavy, as if spoonfuls of barely frozen milk, piling themselves up, one snowflake after the other and all over every thing, the garden and its low walls, the ledges of windows, rooftops, the street, the trees and shrubs, and enveloping everything in a robe white with water and moonlight.

The wind has everything in an endless, headless twirl. Everything but the snow, as certain and safe as it is in its diagonal fall, much too heavy to enter the dance. She lingers for a while, watching the trees, how they bend impossibly in almost half, flanking both sides of that road solitarily and sleepily snaking from north to south through the farm fields, and stoically resist the ravages of the wind. The elderberry and the apple tree thrust their arms against the front of the house, begging the forgiveness of a shelter nothing can ever give them.

And that is when she notices those little shapes beginning to walk down the street, as if on tiptoes, slowly, timidly. It’s only one, at first, but then more follow her. There are five in all. The female, advance scout and the first she had spotted, the male, two young cubs, probably last year’s daughter. An endless smile sparkles in her eyes and lips. They are beautiful, beautiful, ever so beautiful…

When she finally returns camera in hand, the foxes are no longer there to be seen, and the snow is already erasing their footprints. And then she smiles to the glass of the windowpane, and the emptiness of the street. Come morning, this morning already leaping and bounding towards us, nobody will have the slightest idea. Nobody. It will be as if they had never come, had never walked here, little and hesitant ghosts forever lost in the night.

© Nina Light

photo: red fox in the snow, photograph by Roesalien Raimond @ www.roeselienraimond.com © Roesalien Raimond

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