It was pitch dark outside, though, as the moon was hidden behind clouds, and it was cold. Jet was so bundled up he looked like a tiny bear cub, one hand hidden away under the 'warm' flap, and the other holding steadily onto his lantern's 'handle', a stick twisted into the pipe cleaner across the top. The flickering tealight in the bottom of the paper lantern managed to generate just enough heat to warm the hand holding it, not enough to burn anything. The paper diffused the light enough so that we could see by it, somewhat. I, being much taller than Jet, was often blinded by the sight of the candle in the bottom of his bag, but Jet was very happy to trudge around the ruts in the road by the light of his lanturn.
It was cool to see the group from a distance, bobbing pale lights in the darkness. Though I was bemused by the difference between my feelings and the words of the songs they were singing. Stuff like "Up with light and down with the night..." when I was enjoying the night so much.
The winds left us alone for the walk. I was glad of that.
I just followed Jet as we went along. He learned, very quickly, that when he saw a car coming that he was to go to the side of the road, and he'd wait patiently as they either went by or turned away. He didn't sing with the other kids. He just trudged along, behind the group most of the way out, but on the way back, he picked up speed and led the pack. I'm not at all sure if it was because he recognized it all or not, but he was very sure of himself. That was very cool.
He walked with the lantern held out, away from his face, but his body would bump it with each walk, and I was sure he'd knock the flame out of the candle. His lantern flickered the most of all of them, but all the other kids lost their flames before he did. Then, along the last, rough passage, in the ditch by the busy road, Jet hit a tumbleweed with his lantern, and after flipping nearly all the way over, it finally went out. Jet was okay with it, though he did note the light's passing. But by then there was plenty of diffused moonlight to see by as it was shining through a thinner layer of clouds.
There was warm chile and cornbread afterwards, and the kids tumbled and played like puppies as the parents all talked about stuff that the kids ignored. I think I enjoyed the quiet dark more.
Miles to Rivendell: 371