It had been a beautiful, sun-filled, but ever so busy day, and it was not until well after dark with our dinner on the stove that I went outside to gather the chicken eggs. I often take the flashlight with me when I need to step off of the front porch at night, but there was no need for my flashlight this evening.

Only a few bright stars shone in the creek valley sky, and they were quite likely planets. One had a decidedly blue light to it. Another seemed almost red. I knew that the usual constellations were still there in their rightful places high in the night sky, but I also knew that on this particular night that they were not hidden by our typical fog or cloud cover. This night, their light was rather drowned out by the bright sunlight reflecting off of the big, almost full moon.

As I walked out to the goat house and chicken coop to gather the eggs, I quickly realized that I was followed by an ever so perfect shadow, tagging right along beside me in the moonlight. The well-lit night, however, did not follow me inside the goat house, and pitch black engulfed me as I soon as I stepped inside.

I thought that it might have been a good idea to bring the flashlight after all, but after years of egg gathering, my feet knew right where to step, and my hand knew exactly where to reach, and I quickly retrieved the usual quota of three eggs from the goats’ hay loft.

My moon shadow greeted me the moment I stepped back outside. There is a large stump just outside the goat yard gate, and it seemed as though it was almost magnetized, as it drew my metal egg basket towards it.

I set the basket down and turned to watch as my shadow began to dance in the moonlight. I heard an owl call from up on the hillside. I could hear the creek running through the valley, and when the dance was over, and I turned back around to head down to the chicken coop. I could see through the trees that the creek water was shimmering silver, reflecting the bright moonlight as it ran south to the river.

My basket filled of eggs, I returned to the cabin. Light shone out of the windows and into the night in a warm glow that chased away any chill as I stepped inside.

No sooner had I set the basket down on the counter when my phone rang. A warm voice greeted me. I did not know him, but he knew me. We had spoken once on the phone years before, and then, as now, he had simply called to let me know how much he has enjoyed looking through the paper to find my stories and read them and share them with his daughter.

We spoke for a while about country life and the joys of hanging laundry on the line, and of course I thanked him for his kind words. Before we hung up, he told me to give Greg his best wishes.

My heart felt full as I returned to putting the eggs away. I realized that even though Greg and I often spend our days in the creek valley with just the animals around us, we are so very far from ever being alone. I realized that my words somehow reach out of the valley to folks I cannot even imagine, some near, others far. Perhaps some at their breakfast tables, while others are relaxing on their couches at the end of their day.

And it occurred to me that even though I do not know these folks, that they are you, my many readers, and that even though I do not know exactly who you are, I do know that I hold each and every one of you very close to my heart. Thank you for sharing my moonlit shadow dance. Thank you for sharing our lives. Thank you for reading.

Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in Ohio. Visit them on the web at