11 November, 2020

Taking a Walk

 4:12 a.m. EST

I'm a little late for my walk. It's much better to go at 3:30 or so; that way I don't run into anyone and I can keep my mask in my pocket. Starting this late means by the time I get back I might run into early morning dog walkers. In years past, I would have just canceled. My desire to be alone would have been just too great. But after my health scare earlier this year, I promised myself I'd do these walks at least thrice a week. I have to go.

4:27 a.m. EST

I reach the tunnel. It's dark. I can see only a few feet in front of me if I use the tiny low power LED flashlight on my keychain. Without the light, I can see nothing. The first few steps crunch the fall leaves near the entrance. My heart picks up a beat, even though I know no one is here. It's silent. Each step echoes lightly. It's a strange sound; maybe I should have worn something other than crocs for this walk. I move my phone up to take a short video, illuminating the graffiti on the sides of the tunnel as I walk past. I'm careful to just use the small light on my keychain; if I turn on my phone's flashlight, it will be too bright, and it will break the illusion. Another step echoes, and I catch a reflection from above. It's the covering for fluorescent ceiling lights, but they're all turned off. They're always turned off. I wonder when they are ever turned on. After a few more steps, I reach the center of the short tunnel. Above me is the 'main' road. No cars at this time of night, though. I close my eyes and inhale deeply. It smells of... well, the same as outside, really. The tunnel is too short and too shallow to have its own smell. I smell the trees; the leaves; the breeze. No stale air here. I'm disappointed yet again in how not-scary it is, despite the darkness. Despite the seemingly encroaching walls. It occurs to me that the echo is not weird because of my choice of footwear — it's the accordion fold shape of the metal walls that distort the echo so.

5:10 a.m. EST

I like living in this community. Neighbors live in small houses, big houses, townhouses. There are garages, people parking in the streets, driveways, parking lots. Some places look well tended, with the leaves absent from the ground; others have piles. This one appears dilapidated. Next door is a man-made basin, only half full. The water is green, and signs say to stay away. Yet I know that a half mile behind me is a much larger natural creek, beautiful and full of life. The disparity so close together is what makes me really enjoy this area.

5:26 a.m. EST

I arrive at my doorstep. I feel successful, though I encountered no deer tonight, as I sometimes do. I don't always feel great; times have been tough lately. I'm worried about the country I live in, half of whose voting inhabitants wanted Trump to be reelected. I'm worried about several members of my family, who only recently contracted COVID-19 and aren't yet getting better. I'm worried about life. And death.

But at least I got some exercise today without having to put on a mask.

No comments:

Post a Comment