Just past midnight my dog wakes from sleep and begins to whimper. I rub my eyes, lift my head from the pillow and grumble. Not now, Lily. It’s the middle of the night.
Whimpers become more insistent. I turn on the light and her eyes look beseechingly into mine.
Come on. I don shoes, coat and football beanie, pick up the leash. Lily dances. Stand still; I can’t clip it on!
Outside the murky mist is thick but the moon peeps through, lighting our path, a well-worn track around our small acreage, a few kilometres from town.
I hear a twig snap through the shadowy trees. Movement. A kangaroo, I suspect, searching the undergrowth for fresh green shoots of grass. An owl hoots in the distance and I can hear ducks splashing on the dam where the pobblebonk frog orchestra rises to a crescendo.
Lily walks on, oblivious. Her ablutions completed, still I decide to continue on. Another lap around the track. There is something mystical about the night. Sleep can wait a little longer.
The moon follows. Frogs echo. The owl stays silent but the ducks pause splashing and call to each other. Who is this crazy lady, pyjama-clad, walking through the night?
Another lap. Another twig. Two. Three. Suddenly something emerges from the shadows and the trees.
It is my muse. Indistinct. Unclear. Vague. But as I walk it moves closer, becomes clearer.
And then I am half-running, skipping, as fast as my not-so-young body will allow.
Into the warmth of the house, shedding shoes, coat and football beanie.
Lily quickly snuggles back to sleep but I make coffee and pick up my pen.
The mystery and magic of a new adventure is just beginning.