Moonlit soil sampling

Sometimes magic just happens.
I was visiting friends holidaying a little way out in the country. We met for supper and a game of skittles.

Getting back to work the following day meant leaving well before sunrise.

Something drew me out into the garden.
Not just the full moon.
Into the kitchen first, to find a tea spoon and a make-shift sampling container.

It’s a crisp winter morning.
Everything is quiet. Everyone still asleep.
Except the deer at the edge of the woods.

Frost. Hard frost underfoot.
I have missed it and had not even realised.
Grass, trees, stones all covered in tiny crystals,
reflecting the moonlight back into the sky.
Such beauty.

I hear my steps crunch crunch on the lawn.
My feet always so much more aware of the ground at night.
They lead me to a tree.

Despite the white light, I do not recognise it.
Too unskilled.
It’s girth tells me it might be over one hundred years old.
Near where the trunk meets the soil it is dressed in moss and tiny bracket fungi.
Its branches are home to at least two different lichens.

Snowdrops are just about showing their buds.
The bright moon casts shadows.

I notice little breaks in the grass.
Did animals scratch around?
I take a tiny bit here and there, where the soil was exposed, as not to cause too much damage.
No more than three teaspoons in total.
The soil is spongy and light.

I linger, give my thanks, and leave hopefully.

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