We were sitting in the living room of my friends' apartment, chatting about movies and geeky things and everything we could think of. Then I looked at my watch. It was nearly 1 in the morning, and past time for me to be heading home. So I said goodbye, put on my coat, boots, and gloves, and walked out the door.
The first thing I noticed as I stepped out into the cold was the sparkle in the air. The sky was clear, but the air was so cold that what little moisture was there had frozen and was floating down gently, sparkling like diamond dust in the light from the streetlamps and the traffic signals. I walked down the empty, quiet sidewalk, marvelling at the glittering air and the way it fell so lightly, glazing my coat with silver.
I crossed the main road and walked down the street where I live. The farther I got from the main road, the quieter and more beautiful the night seemed. The street is usually a little too dark for my taste during the summer and fall, but with the thick snow covering the ground like frosting and a bright nearly-full moon overhead, the street seemed as bright as it might be on a cloudy day. My mother hates that I walk alone at night; I love it because I think the night is magical, and winter nights doubly so.
Just outside of my house, I stopped on the sidewalk and looked up at the moon overhead. It was surrounded by a clear, bright halo of white light. I know the scientific explanation behind this phenomenon, but every time I see it, I'm always taken aback for just a moment while I gaze at the ethereal glow and wonder what people thought of such things before there was science, before we understood light and prisms. I stood on the corner of my sidewalk for several minutes, gazing at the moon, the bright snowy street, the deep blue sky over the lake... and then the face-numbing cold won out and I returned to the warmth of my house.