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Eyes in the dark

By LEON YOUNGBLOOD

Moonlight is a wonderful thing, out at Briar Circle, and the brighter it is, the better. I have never wandered around in the dark without a flashlight; but I have wandered around in the moonlight without a flashlight, and those short strolls have almost always been pleasant.

Company is good, of course. One or two companions who are not too talkative, walking in the majestic solemness of the wilderness at night, not scared, but nonetheless attentive to noises and movements in the forest increases the sense of security. You marvel at God’s glorious universe, and as one friend softly yet enthusiastically observed on a recent walk, “God is with us!”


BRIAR CIRCLE


Indeed, He was. The “peace that passeth understanding” was upon us, with God in our midst!

However, God apparently stepped away for a few moments, and things got spooky.

This happened when on the trail we simultaneously noticed a lumbering shadow some short distance ahead. It was huge, it was moving, and prompted the verbal observation, “Hmm,” from one of my friends. He added, “Brothers, it seems to be coming toward us. Do we yell, run, scream, or just stand here and soil our pants?”

We had pocket flashlights and now put them to use. The yellowish glow from a pair of eyes stared back, and we guessed it was a bear; however, our lights deterred it, and it turned and ambled off into the woods. We could hear as it moved through the bushes. Even though the animal was moving away from us, our vote was unanimous to go back to the shack and punch up the campfire.

At camp, a pair of racoons were visiting. They were accustomed to me being there, but not to the point that they’d sit in my lap. They were helping themselves to things in the ice chest, though, and when their criminal activity was exposed by our flashlights, their eyes shone yellow, too. They were not overly concerned about getting caught, and left with a pack of hotdogs.

I recalled the old Boy Scout trick about hunting spiders in the dark, told my friends and shined my small light on the ground. Dozens of eerie green sparkles of light shone back. Behind every one was a tiny spider. We came across a ‘possum, another critter whose eyes reflected green. Down by Doris’ Pond, frog eyes flashed back reddish and greenish, but we were not entirely sure what we were seeing. Deer were on the other side of the pond, their eyes yellowish.

The bright moonlight illuminated everything with soft light, but we were not seeing everything that was there to see. We wondered what we were missing, and if there were things in the forest surveying us. “It gets weird out here sometimes,” I testified. “I fell twice last fall, within an hour apart. The first fall smashed my face; the second broke a few ribs. Each time, the sensation was like I had been pushed.”

My friends knew about my falls and the resulting injuries. One asked, “What color were the pushers’ eyes?”

I said I did not know, just as an owl hooted not too far away. We turned toward the call, and from the trees, the reddish glow of a pair of eyes reflected back. It wasn’t the owl, either.

I was asked, “What out here walks upright and eyes that shine red?”

“Humans and sasquatches,” I answered.

There was a slight pause, then, “Really? Human eyes shine back red?”

“Yes, like in those ‘red eye’ photographs of people.”

“Yeah, we’ve seen those. So that over there—I’d be more inclined to believe it’s human.”

I asked, “Do y’all want to let’s find out?”

The vote was 2 to 1 against. It was late, so we called it a night and went to the cabin. I did not mind that my friends locked the door and the windows, but the nightlight—well—I figured I could stand it for one night.


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