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She works full time from home. In these short winter days, that means there is no light by the time we are both free to walk. Many times we are the only people out and about aside from a solitary dog walker.
I throw on a heavier coat and my winter boots and walk down the block to annoyingly pound on her new front door. (I really miss the metal door knocker she had on her old door–it made an impressive racket and her dog always barked crazily along with it.)
I’ve been pounding on her door for years.
Years ago, we walked a 4.5-mile country loop during the daytime a couple times a week. As life got busier for my friend, it took too long to walk. (I’m a slow walker.) Now we get together when the weather is good and the time is right to wander around our small town’s streets in the dark.
So far we’ve had a mild winter with lots of days in the 20s and 30s(F). I believe the darkness makes people think that it is colder, but at sundown, the wind usually drops (unless we have a new weather system moving in). You can comfortably walk in much lower temperatures with no windchill.
We ran into a neighbor and some acquaintances on our last walk, chatted briefly, and moved on. These walks are a workout for their duration not the rate at which we travel. It was wonderful at Christmas time when everyone had their trees decorated and lit and their drapes open. There are still a lot of outdoor light displays to enjoy.
People just can’t bear the darkness.
My friend and I are very different. She is a reserved person, self-disciplined (she cleans her house, controls her diet, and exercises regularly), and liberal. I am outgoing, not so self-disciplined, and fairly conservative. We do have one thing in common when we walk—if that window is unshaded and the room is illuminated, we will be looking!
I’ve come to the conclusion that there are really only two kinds of people in this world: those who will look in the unshaded window, and those who avert their eyes. It brings to mind a poem about a person on a train at nightfall looking out and into other peoples’ lit windows, their stories flashing in glimpses as the train passes rapidly onward–stills of other unshielded lives. What would it be like to live in that house, be that person, live that life?
I often leave my front blinds open and get a glimpse of my comfortable (and a bit tattered) life when I return home–my secondhand sofas with the faded covers, the grandfather clock that doesn’t work, the warm gold walls with the ink paintings of cats I inherited from my aunt. It’s home and I’m content. Begonia
This giant crouching snow cat sculpture appeared in the yard next to mine one bright, day when the snow was packing well. It isn’t easy to see from the street but I had a nice side view from my back patio.