The moon was cold. The road shone with pale crystals. I winced inwardly and flung the door open, breaking the dark silence of the early morning. I placed one booted foot out, then the other and shut the door behind me. I waited. It didn’t seem that bad for the first day of January 2010, even though I was at five thousand feet. Then, I breathed. Pure, cold air poured into my lungs. I shivered, shook myself and grinned. It was cold. In the quiet, my boots clomped noisily across the empty road onto the hard, frozen trail. Within a matter of minutes, I had turned off my headlamp, as the moon was overpowering the sky. My pupils slowly relaxed as I quickened my pace to stay warm. Every bush, rock, and feature on the trail was lit in ghostly light, making it look spectral and ephemeral.
Briefly, I wondered if I was dreaming, and had merely fallen asleep at the New Year’s party I had just left. After pinching myself – just to be sure – my thoughts turned to when I had last slept. It had almost been a full twenty-four hours, a day prior, a year prior, and a decade prior. No wonder I was tired. Yet, as I rolled down the trail, I felt good, relaxed, and excited to see the first sunrise of the new decade. Then I saw them – twin shadows flitting ahead on the trail. By the time I had fully determined that they were also people, I was upon them. Quietly, they shifted over to the side of the trail, startled, as I blew by with a jaunty wave. At first, I thought it was rude that they hadn’t said anything, and then I considered that it was the early hours of the morning, and we were all hiking without lights in the middle of nowhere. I had probably just scared the crap out of them. I grinned, and tried not to laugh out loud. The sky turned from pale black to purple, to pink, as I powered my way to the rocky summit. Off in the east, the sky rumbled with colors, while in the West, the moon stayed stubbornly fixed in its full radiance. For a brief moment, I wondered if the sun would rise, and what would happen when the first rays of the new year caressed my face. Before I had time to come to a definitive conclusion, burning yellow and orange seared the sky, as the sun poked its body over the rim of the planet, leaving me to stare in wonder and amazement in the serendipity of the moment.