There are several degrees of frost tonight, the still air crackles and though the window the moon shines so white that it looks like snow coating the rocks, trees and buildings. I will have to step outside for an armload of large pieces of firewood to last the rest of the night. Whoever wakes later will go downstairs to stoke the stove some more, thereby saving us from a chilly morning kitchen. Somehow, as I step down the stairs through streaks of moonlight, these nocturnal trips are rather special, as if an all-night sleep is not really the normal state for humankind at all.
After my quick trip outside I stand for a while at the window to admire this white world, so seldom seen during weeks of cloudy, rainy weather. An owl calls and is answered from somewhere deep in the big woods. These are not standard owl calls, but shrieks and moans, -either someone has cold claws out there or they are plotting some very bloody deed. If it gives me the shivers, I can imaging how all the field mice must be feeling crouched down in their burrows.
Then I remember that far back in the remote past our ancestors were once small mammals too. They must have listened in the pine woods on moonlit nights like this to the dinosaurs calling from ridge to ridge as they planned their hunting. We must have shivered in our dens like these mice do today. Then I remember some more: those owls are the last descendants of the dinosaurs. No wonder they raise the hairs on the back of my neck tonight.