| Michael Fralich, Norumbega Farm |
It was 4:30 when I arrived at the barn. The light of the day was already draining away. Cyra and Teddy were both in the barn waiting for their dinner. I expected that Cyra would object to my request for a ride. This was out of pattern for both of us. Our routine is to ride early in the morning. I could not remember the last time I had asked her for a ride at dusk. I was wrong. Cyra accepted her riding halter willingly.
When I led her to the mounting block I feared that we would not have enough light left in the day to ride safely. With Mocha trotting beside us, we headed up Woodman Road towards the trailhead to Big Falls. I had ridden in the woods earlier in the week and was confident that Cyra could handle the snow cover. When we reached the trailhead I expected Cyra to object to my choice. Again, I was wrong. The last time we had ridden here was after the big rainstorm some weeks back. Then it was the middle of the day with full sun. The falls had been spectacular, made even more so because I saw them from Cyra’s back.
We headed into the dusk woods with Mocha leading the way. While the light was fading, we still had enough to see the trail. Though the light was dim it was also beyond magical; it was mystical. It was the time of day when the boundary between this world and the world of the spirits is very thin. Cyra was handling the fading light and snow cover with easy confidence. I kept losing Mocha in the dark recesses of the woods. She would reappear if I gave her my two-note whistle. While I frequently do not know where she is when we are out in the woods, I know she always knows where we are. I have not lost her yet.
We passed the 1947 Plymouth coupe, its rusty hulk now covered in snow. We headed down the hill to the banks of Meadow Brook. When last here, it was a leaping torrent. Now it was a dimly visible bumpy aberration in the forest floor with occasional windows of whispering water.
When we headed into the pines I wondered if this was a good idea. It was now quite dark. The tall pines with their interwoven canopy blocked out what light might try to reach us. The light of day was rapidly giving way to the cloak of night. When we reached Big Falls it presented a very different image from the scene at our last visit. Then the icy rocks were being pounded by a large volume of water from a recent storm. Now the falls were silent. The cascading water had been locked in place by cold January nights. It was difficult to even pick out details of the scene I had witnessed many times before.
On Cyra, with Mocha running along behind, I marveled at how blessed I was to be able to share these adventures with my four-footed friends. When we emerged back onto Woodman Road and were headed back to the barn, we had become one with the transition from day to night.