Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Walking at night
It was a cloudless night, the myriad of stars twinkled above them.
The breeze whispered through the trees, with just a hint of the weather to come.
It had been a hot and airless day, so this breeze was welcome to cool their hot bodies.
The poor dog had spent most of the day trying to find a place to escape the heat, but was now all a quiver with anticipation of the walk ahead.
The woman, was just pleased to be out, to escape herself for a moment, as these walks late at night needed all her concentration.
There were some lights at the start of the walk, but they dwindled out as they got closer to the open fields.
Plus the dog was a terror for trying to catch whatever wild life was about. And if the woman wasn't careful and missed the signs when the dog took off, she almost had her arm pulled out of it's socket, and she stumbled in a half run trying to get her footing and pull the dog back on the lead to a manageable distance from her.
But she knew exactly where she was walking, she'd been doing this walk with one dog or another for ten years now, so the dark held no fear for her.
More it held her in it's protective folds.
And she needed that so much at the moment, to feel safe and not so lost, and walking always restored her equilibrium.
The peace of one foot in front of another, the feel of her body, knowing that her shoulders were back and her spine was straight. It was a pleasure to feel her muscles taking the strain of her footsteps.
And even more to feel the strength in her arms when the dog saw a rabbit or fox that she tried to tear after. All of those years of Pilates had given her so much control, so that it was just her forearm taking the strain, and not that horrible sudden jarring when she wasn't paying attention and her socket suffered.
The owl hooted close by, she loved the sound, although as a child the owls cry had terrified her, and her Dad would have to open her bedroom window wide and clap his hands to startle the owl in the tree opposite away.
The road down to the woods, was tree lined itself, and it was here that was the most difficult for her and the most pleasure for the dog. Most nights they saw a couple of foxes, sometimes a badger, and always rabbits. She daren't let the dog off the her lead, she would have savaged anything she got hold of otherwise and that wasn't happening anytime soon as far as the woman was concerned.
They reached the open ground there was no-one else around, she sat down on the grassy bank, the dog unsure of what was going on settled beside her, as she lie down to look at the stars.
The nights that the meteor showers had happened had been clouded over, and this was an amazing clear night with thousands of stars for her to stare at. As she lay there eventually she was rewarded with the sight of shooting stars across the sky.
It made her feel part of something much bigger than she could ever know. Her recently troubled life ebbed away in the sight of so much sky, her soul became soothed. And her natural ability to get on with herself was reinstated.
She was starting to feel the damp of the grass through her clothes, so she and her dog meandered their way home, stopping every so often for the dog to sniff another interesting smell. But she was in no hurry. Life would do what life did, and she was just happy to be part of it still.