Walking in the Dark (38)

I keep running out of daylight, so I’ve taken to walking around our trailer park at night. I study each home. I like to see what people have done, the choices they’ve made depending on the configuration of the structure, the orientation of the lot, the emphasis on indoor versus outdoor space. I have years of wandering my neighborhoods at night. I love seeing windows lit up. They used to make me feel lonely but not anymore. The other night when I was walking, an odd awareness came over me, almost more physical sensation than actual thought. It lasted several paces, maybe half of the short block I was walking, heading west in the dark. I was struck by how rich in life these homes felt. The rows of colorful handblown glass, bottle after bottle stretching across all the windowsills I could see from the road. A covered patio, pristine, with artwork on the walls, bright abstract designs, the bicycles stowed just so. The sounds of music playing, TV, the opening and closing of cupboards, the clank of metal on metal, pot to the stove, someone preparing dinner. All these homes seemed so much more alive than my own. I felt a little awed, a little sad. Later, I wondered if what I sensed was an accumulation of life over time, that row of bottles spanning the years. I bet it began with one bottle on that first windowsill. A fresh coat of paint on the patio wall, the impulse to hang the abstract. I can almost see them now years ago in my mind, before life was laid down, these small acts of love, layer after layer.

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