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New yeas eve. It was dark in the house. Just a little candlelight and the glow of the television, as we sat in the warmth from the wood stove, watching the new century arrive around the world. The celebrations. The fireworks. The countdown from Times Square. Millions of people celebrating together.

A few minutes after eleven o'clock, Pam and I slowly put on our running clothes, and then stepped out into the dark and cold. We left all those people on the TV. We left the warm glow of our cozy home. Just the two of us jogging slowly through the 28-degree night air. We followed the lane through the woods, turned right, and followed the road along the ridge. Stars everywhere. Cold crisp air. It seemed like work at first, but gradually the breathing became easier, the legs felt looser, and we settled into an easy pace, running along the ridge.

The stars arch overhead from horizon to horizon. The Milky Way floats over us. Just the two of us. Lights twinkle along the mountains to the west. How silent. A dog barks in the valley. We really don't talk. No cars are moving. No one is out tonight. There are no sounds, except our steady footfalls and our rhythmic breathing, as we glide along through the cold night. Somehow it seems that we become the night. We become the stars. We are the mountains. It is no longer the two of us. We've become one. We are one with each other, and we are one with all creation that surrounds us.

My watch beeps. "Pam," I say, "we are in the next century." We stop for a moment and share one of those cold runny nose kisses, pop our noisemakers, then turn and run toward home. Sounds from the valley. Bells are ringing. Guns fire. And then there along the mountains we see fireworks. They are far away. They burst in the air. Did the ball drop? Did the power go off? Was the Washington monument amazing? It doesn't seem to matter. It just doesn't seem to have anything to do with what we are feeling now. We run along, blanketed with stars. Cold air, breathing in, breathing out. Steady pace. Fire works silently dancing along the mountains. We feel one with nature and our creator as we glide along our ridge. The feeling is not that God has given us all this beauty to enjoy, but rather that we are a vital part of all of creation. We are the stars. We are the cold air. We are the night.

We turn left off the ridge and into the woods. Only a half-mile to go.

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