Twenty years ago, a little more, I walked. Nighttime solo walks. Walks under the light of the moon. Walks to breathe cool air and smell the damp on cut grass and hear distant dogs singing to the sky. Almost every night, in all weather, but especially after a snow. It doesn’t snow where I live now. I don’t miss it, but I remember how I loved the sounds of snow shovels patiently scraping driveways, and I especially remember how quiet the world is underneath a white soft blanket.
Those walks, those twenty-years-ago-walks, were my sanity and salvation, my private world-wide Quiet Thinking Space. I do some of my best thinking while walking. The feet just go where they go and the mind opens wide into distant lands and star-bright worlds.
Tonight I slipped on my pink New Balances and a purple jacket and stepped out into the cool night, the just-this-side-of-full moon beaming bright. My world has been so small for so long. I’ve barely been anywhere by myself in more than two years. I clutched my keys in my pocketed fist and then laughed at myself. This isn’t that kind of neighborhood. Still, I was aware of where light pooled on the sidewalks from the occasional street lamps, and I looked for ominous shadows. I saw no shadows — only Sasha, the tiny white poodle who yapped at my ankles (to his owner’s chagrin) when I walked past.
Free. And strong. I’ve missed how that feels.