You are walking westward, into the mountain. It is early January, just past Midwinter, so the Sun skims low in the sky, so low that much of the trail is in shadow.
You are searching for a treasure along the trail―a waterfall―one you know you are not likely to find, deep in the mountain as it must be, because you started late, and walk slow.
Still there are treasures enough in the forest, and you clamber down to the creek, with its jumble of stones, some as large as cars, and its sweet cacophony of water singing down the mountain, all wrapped in the chill of shadow, with long beams of light here and there penetrating the tangle of branches. You pull from your pack your sketchbook and pencil, your camera, and find a seat among the stones, to record the treasures you have found there.
Then you begin your journey home, the shadows knitting into a cold quilt of blue, the creek chattering below the trail. The Sun sinks lower still, and before you, the mountain on the horizon is drenched in that last golden, rosy light.
You pause then, on the trail, struck into stillness by the beauty of the light.
It’s as if that oblique light could reach into places where summer’s strong light could not. Deep places in the Earth, deep places in your body.
It’s as if the light has turned a key, somewhere, and something that had been asleep, is stirring. Something that had been guarding a hoard of gold is opening its one amber all-seeing eye.
Somewhere a lyre hums with the breath of sylphs.
Somewhere there is a book of secrets, long unopened. Your fingers trace its worn spine and gilded pages. And you understand then, that it is meant for you, only now. Only just now.