Walking in the Dark

Here I am again, scrambling to write a blog post before the day runs out, though this time it’s not because of laziness or procrastination but because I was working all day and just got home. Not much happens to inspire me on such days, though I did enjoy walking home in the dark. I so seldom get out in the dark any more — there’s generally no need to — so even though I am always offered a ride home (sometimes insistently), I refuse. It’s only two blocks, and the problematic dogs are gone — one moved away with the problematic neighbors and the other canine died. (That woman should never be allowed to own pets. She told me that if she were a dog, she’d rather run free even if she ended up getting hit by a car, and guess what. Since I’ve been here, she’s had three dogs, and all three were killed. Weirdly, I even know the person who killed her last dog. Even weirder, now that I think about it, he knew it was her dog, so her blasé attitude must be well known.)

What I’m getting at is that the walk is as safe as possible. (Obviously, nothing is completely safe, but there are relative matters of safety. For example, there are a heck of a lot of places I’ve lived that I’d never even set foot out of my door in a dark evening, let alone at night.) It’s also fun this time of year seeing the colored lights. There are nowhere near as many here as there were in my dad’s neighborhood — those people must have thought that the only way to offset a non-snowy desert Christmas was to flood the town with Christmas lights. The decorations are tepid here in comparison, but still enjoyable.

The past few years I’ve made a point of doing a bit of inside decorating for Christmas — putting up a small tree and my bowls of lights if nothing else — but I’m not sure I want to make the effort this year. I will be spending the day by myself, and it seems rather absurd to put in so much time digging out the decorations and setting them up just for me, but then, on the other hand, perhaps that’s when it’s most important to make the effort.

I still have time to decide. Or not. We’re already into December! Amazing how that happens — time passing in huge chunks when one isn’t paying attention.

I used to think all those folks who got ready for Christmas early were jumping the gun, but now that I am aware of how fast time goes, I’m surprised more people don’t start getting ready in September or August or July.

But I am digressing. I was talking about walking home in the dark. Not only are the artificial lights pleasing, so are the natural ones — the stars that make themselves seen. You’d think out here there would be more stars visible, but admittedly, the lack could be in me and my old eyes rather than the meager light pollution generated by the sparse street lights. Luckily, there are enough lights to brighten my way when walking home, so I really shouldn’t complain about light pollution.

I got home safely, and in the end, that’s what counts.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Talking about Walking

I attended a city council strategy session last night. Part of the discussion was walkability, making the town a safer and easier place to walk. The main thing that I can see is that so many of the sidewalks need to be repaired, but apparently, there is nothing the mayor and council can do about that since it’s up to the property owner to maintain their sidewalks. The council can do something about the crosswalks, specifically the ends of the sidewalk that lead down into the street. So many of those curbs are broken, or too high, or missing. They need to make them accessible.

During the discussion, someone suggested putting bike paths on the wide streets, but oh, my, what a terrible idea! (And unnecessary in many cases because of existing sidewalks and because many of the streets are so lightly traveled they’re already serving as walking/biking paths.) First, dedicated paths would take away street parking, and second, they are dangerous to pedestrians. Since I’ve walked mile upon mile no matter where I’ve been, I have a lot of experience with bike/pedestrian paths, so I know how dangerous they are. Many bike riders do not give the right of way to pedestrians, whizzing past walkers, and often forcing them into car lanes. So . . . no. I sure hope they paid attention to my expert opinion.

People who don’t walk except to and from their cars, don’t know the challenges of walking or finding safe places to walk. After the meeting yesterday, we got to talking about possible places for me to walk in the area, and one suggestion was to walk in the community center. Apparently, the basketball court is open in the morning to give seniors a safe place to walk, but oh, how utterly boring! And how many laps to make three miles? Sixty? Eek.

Another suggestion was to walk around the golf course. Whether he meant walk around the course on the course itself, or walk around the outside of the course, is immaterial because neither is possible. The golf course is surrounded by barbed wire, so even when no one is golfing, the pathways are inaccessible. And to walk around the outside perimeter? Well, there is a little matter of locked gates and no way around them.

They also told me there was a pond out that way, with perhaps a trail around it, but if so, it had to be inside the golf course because there was no road to a pond. Still, it was a bit of an adventure, walking to an area I hadn’t yet explored.

I was told it is also possible to walk along the dikes next to the river, but no one could tell me how to get there without trespassing on private property, and oh, by the way, there are more gates along the dikes.

I’ll keep looking. There has to be a scenic (and relatively safe) place to walk around here.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.