Sleepless in slippers
I like insomnia. Freelance riders have flexible hours. Usually in bed by nine, I wake up at two a helluva lot of the time, and ready to …do something.
Last night’s something was type a letter and then, without changing out of my p.j.’s, walk outside into the misty middle of the night. Crickets were chirping softly. Not one dog ruined the quiet that’s a rare treat on Dogbark Lane. No surprise, they’re all indoors now.
Our streetlights are painful-squint bright, and even the trailhead has a bright lamp illuminating a huge old building that’s nothing but a roof held up with beams. Beams which make great shadows : stripes on the steep wall of hillside . Ahead of me I can see my own shadow going through the columns. Jail. Ancient Rome. A Marin County suburb. Wonder if the panther that was seen here in August lives far away or holes up rignt in our dark canyon.
I’m aware that the possibility of a panther (we call em mountain lions, but they don’t have that highly sought-after plosive “p” preferred by persnickety poetasters) provides particular piquancy to my perambulations. Back to ….the certainty of a dampish dark walk.
I could use the flashlight to illuminate the bumpy trail, but it sits cold in my pocket. The trail is very familiar; I’ve walked and ridden it a thousand times in all conditions. Beyond the last vestige of artificial light, a bit long thin strip of sky and treetops make a faint design overhead. I feel the trail’s surface through my soft clogs. The going is slow, and my hearing sharpens. In the creekside canyon, the mist’s soft sibilance adds to the cricket backbeat as, now and then, a solid drop of water dings a puddle. Fairfax is fast asleep.
There is nothing to think about –after changing the “hello kitty!” channel. It is so peaceful I could stand in this spot forever. Several eternities shy of that, I turn around, and grope my way back.
And c-l-i-m-b into bed with a cat-burglar’s subtlety , no one the wiser.