a walk on a winter’s night
I am not by nature vampiric. But, there are nights that sweet, restful, peaceful sleep simply will not come. Tonight is such a night.
Leaving the warm bed, and quickly dressing, I go out into the night for some air and hoping a walk, some physical activity, will help to bring sleep when I return.
The moon is full this winter’s night. A slight but persistent westerly wind pushes the high clouds past the bright orb at intervals obscuring and diffusing its eerie bluish white light.
In this quasi-rural area, the street lamps are far apart and there are pools of darkness even on this moonlit night. The shapes of the large rocks of my front yard, with the many andesite sentinels, are impressed, exaggerated on the white concrete sidewalk and driveway in long, dark shadows. The moon’s unearthly, ethereal light makes these shadows seem even darker and perhaps menacing.
Walking now up the street, the cold early morning air envelopes me. It is cold but not uncomfortably so.
The neighborhood is quiet. The street is empty. This is the “dead” time of the night. The night people have returned to their homes, and the early risers will not awake for 2 or 3 hours to come. There are no night insects to make a sound at this time of the year.
The bare branches of dormant trees make spider webs of shadows across both sidewalk and asphalt. An owl in a distant tree calls out at my passing.
Turning street corners now and again, I walk aimlessly trying to calm my troubled mind. No, I am not a lost soul condemned to roam the earth. Nor am I tormented by an urgent and pressing need that cannot presently be satiated as a junkie craving the needle, but the needle is empty. But, my mind is uneasy. A restless dog behind a fence barks loudly as I pass by.
During the day, you may have looked at me in a crowd, but you did not see me. Now, this night, as you sleep, you are blissfully unaware that I pass by your door. Alas, you are safe as I hold no malice in my heart towards you.
Walking on there is fresh road kill. A desert rabbit lies dead in the street, a victim of a speeding pickup truck.
Walking with my thoughts long block after long block. The passage of time is difficult to gauge. The moon has moved across the sky, yes, but the perception of time’s passage has become distorted and unreliable. It seems I have only been walking a few minutes.
Did you hear that?! Just now, I thought I heard a feminine, enticing whisper in my ear. But, no. It was merely the soft, pleasant sound of distant wind chimes in the breeze that caressed me.
I eventually return home, and to my bed. Sleep takes me quickly now so that later I do not recall anything after slipping under the covers.
Upon waking hours later, I cannot be sure that I took the walk, or merely dreamed it.
The year is 2148.