Walking at Night

August 16th, 2018

I woke up at 3:30 AM. That isn’t all that unusual for me. At best, I sleep fitfully. Shocky, our border collie/lab mix, was making restless noises in the bedroom. She needed to go out, and I certainly wasn’t going to doze off while the dog whined in the dark.

I took Shocky for a walk. We went for a mile or so down Oakwood Road, and then back home again. We wandered past the cornfields and the subdivisions. There are not many streetlights along Oakwood. Shocky and I walked part of the way in the dark. It wasn’t complete darkness, because there is no such thing where we live. It is impossible to get away from lights entirely. However, there is a portion of the road, alongside the marsh, where vision fails and the other senses take over.

When I cannot see, then I hear things, and I smell things, and I feel things. I heard the cricket chorus. I could hear the flap of the heron’s wings. I heard the sound of a muskrat diving into the water near the edge of the street. The air was musty and sweet. It had the faint scent of over-ripe fruit, as if summer was tired, but autumn was ready yet to to take its place. Even at that time of the morning, well before dawn, it was warm and humid. I could feel my t-shirt stick to my body. The hot season was clinging to me, refusing to let go.

There was already some traffic on the road. People driving off to work at 4:00 AM. I remember doing that. I used to get up at one in the morning to start my shift. I would be barely conscious when I was behind the wheel of the car. I took care to be seen as I walked with Shocky this morning. Some of those folks on their way to their jobs were probably not terribly alert.

The commuters probably weren’t very happy either. They all seemed to be in a hurry to get to a place where they didn’t want to be. Drivers on Oakwood, especially a bit later in the morning, tend to be a surly lot. There are no sidewalks on the road, so when I am walking the dog, I take up a couple precious feet of asphalt. If there is traffic going both ways on the street, then sometimes a driver is forced to stop momentarily to keep from hitting me and Shocky. I’m glad that I don’t often see their facial expressions. If looks could kill…

The sky was overcast when we started our walk. As we came home, the clouds parted overhead, and I when I looked up could pick out some stars. I could briefly see Cassiopeia, Perseus, and Pleiades.

Shocky didn’t look up. She was sniffing at a dead frog.

 

 

 

 

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