These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

night walk

last night it was time to get off work. no one was ready to leave and there was about 30 minutes to wait. i really didn't want to wait and i didn't want to get my wife out into the cold.

i ended up calling her several times but she'd fallen asleep and the phones were downstairs.

after contemplating for a bit, i decided to walk home. it's only about six blocks and most are short blocks. the only problem was it was cold. damn cold and i didn't know if it was snowing out or not.

i stepped outside and yes it was snowing -- but just a bit, light and a little wet. i walked through the work tunnel and out the back parking lot and through the church parking lot behind my work and that would bring me closer to home.

i found the walk, which i thought would be tough at night, easier than walking to work during the day. i didn't have to put up with any daytime obstacles.

as i turned south on pine, the wind hit my face, but it felt good, my skin tightening up, eyes crinkled a bit. i bundled my self up even more.

my walking was brisk, even though i had to tread through sidewalks that had snow on them and high piles of snow after sidewalk plows pushe d up fallen snow. on corners, it can get treacherous because when street plows do their ting, they push up snow up against the edge of the sidewalk as it ends at the street, so you get this large wall of snow about a foot and a half high that you have to overcome. during the day it's tough because it all looks the same to me.

during my walks to work or the library, if you'd follow my footprints, you'd see a drunk man walking all over the snow-covered sidewalks.

but the night provided me with something special. ligh, of all things. the reflection of the street lights reflected off the snow and lit my way home in a manner that sunlight or daytime light doesn't ever do. the night's darkness gave me shadows where snow piled up and the street lights helped me on my way.

only a few cars made its way north and south on pine and they were my only companions coming home.

in some homes, lights lit up upstairs rooms. in most, houses sat in darkness, with the occasional security light flickering on as i passed by quietly.

on 14th, i encountered my only hazard and it wasn't on a snow-covered sidewalk; it was on a clear driveway. i was over confident by the easy walk taht i stepped into the cleared off area only to find it covered in a thin sheet of ice. my feet slipped out from under me for a split second. then i regained my footing and was back on familiar surface, snow.

i arrived to find my wife asleep upstairs, the phones sitting side-by-side in the kitchen.

i don't know what the temperature was last night, i'm sure below 20. but it was a pleasant experience, something i'd not done before but maybe could do again.


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