A full moon picnic was our intention but we almost canceled due to the threat of rain and violent storms.  But we decided with summer storms there was just as good of a chance of seeing a beautiful sunset as they were a storm.

I met Emily in Fairview,  As she stepped out of the car I was instantly reminded of her uniqueness. Dressed in a simple summer dress and flip flops, not at all typical hiking gear but she is in no way typical, a lot of other adjectives, beautiful, amazing, wonderful, but not typical! I was delighted to see she had brought Savannah with her. Savannah giving nose kisses as soon she got into the car, the best hiking dog ever!

The sun was already hanging low in the western sky when we arrived at the trailhead. It was a 2.5-mile hike to Blueridge pastures and we kept noticing how most of it was downhill (meaning up on the way back out) We walked and talked, then talked more, we discussed everything from the way the shadows of the trees dance in the breeze, to the meaning of life.

Most of the sky had cleared by the time we arrived at the pastures

We spotted a fire ring with a log sitting, near the bottom of the pasture. I sit up our picnic blanket here so we could recline against the log. Someone had left a weathered log with branches a few feet off the ground. Gray and looking almost like driftwood, it was too big for the fire pit but made a perfect candelabra for the tea candles I had for brought for atmosphere. I had also cut a lovely boutique of lavender and cone flowers from the garden before leaving to add even more atmosphere. The lavender smelled heavenly throughout the hike and picnic. The coneflowers were a little battered by the hike but a nice addition nonetheless.

We settled in for a relaxing evening while I made avocado, soppressata and mozzarella on pita bread sandwiches. We ate while watching the colors of the sunset twisting, contorting, the end of the day fighting the night creating a lava lamp in the sky.   An eerie quietness as the darkness fell around us. Emily had just mentioned there were no fireflies, she had spoken too soon as before long they were hundreds of lights twinkling in the trees around the edge, soon spilling onto the grasses of the pasture.  The ghostly ballerinas of the night put on a show to rival the best Broadway shows.  We took out pieces of paper and wrote down our wishes for summer, for life. We held the papers over the candles letting the flame consume, the smoke carrying our desires to the. A simple ritual more for setting intention than for magic. (Well maybe that is the magic?)

We could see the sky getting lighter to the east right above the trees, it would not be long now. I took out a small bar of chocolate and broke it into even smaller pieces so we could savor each morsel.

The thunder started to roll. At times a near continuous low rumble behind us in the west. A perfect soundtrack to the firefly show. We went ahead and packed up just in case the storm did hit then made our way to the top of the pasture

We waited and watched as the moon performed a slow strip tease, peeling away the clouds revealing one crater at a time till the clouds only draped around over her shoulder, a négligée woven from the finest gossamer. A beautiful sight for sure

As we made our way to the edge of the pasture, the first rain drops were falling. Soon becoming a steady rain but never a hard rain.  A warm summer night hiking in a warm summer rain was nothing short of wonderful!

We came across a giant spider, Charley. Charley was happy to see us, we could tell from his smile.

At one point I was walking directly behind Emily I look down at her feet and my eyes barely catch a glimpse of something chasing her. I thought maybe it was just rain drops, I look again,  no it was something A small monster maybe? I call out for her to stop, when she does, it veers left.  Turned out to be salamander about 6 Inches long.

With such good company the time flew by way too fast and we were both surprised when we came out onto the trail head so soon.  Another wonderful adventure ending. I was sort of sad that it had to end. But already put me getting home after 1:00 am and having to get up at 5:30 am.

It was everything a summer night should be!

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