now that the snow’s melted i’ve resumed going on late night walks around my neighborhood.
for a few days it got really warm (by march in minnesota standards) and the soundscape was filled with birdsong again. but tonight it was colder and completely silent. even the highway-drone, which varies from night to night in loudness but is basically omnipresent, was nowhere to be heard.
i saw like one car the entire time, and it was far away, so i didn’t get that awful “dear in headlights” effect where a car drives right past you and its headlights catch you in their glare like you’re some cryptid. exposing my sketchy, improper loitering on the deserted stage sets of the suburban early AM.
the sky was a deep, somber blue, rather than last night’s purple. under streetlight and moonlight, trees cast nets of black tendril shadows that pass over and temporarily ensnare anything beneath them. beautiful in a spooky way.
the pink glow of tiktok lighting in the upper corner window of a dark house, glimpse of the all-to-familiar cold blankness of a laptop screen, heard girls’ uproarious laughter.
funny how something as simple as putting a sweatshirt hood up can make you feel perfectly safe from the elements, like you’re interfacing with the world from inside a cockpit. that my coat doesn’t zip (fuck, it’s been like that all winter, not going to do anything about it now) rendered my removal from the cold night only partial.
i avoided the spots that have a mysterious akashic importance to them, the spots where i feel that, one time, something must’ve gone down. not necessarily in a bad way. some important memory created in a person's life, or collectively in the lives of a group of people, or maybe just in the lives of two. most likely long ago, when unable to dematerialize during bouts of youthful restlessness, people occupied, conspired in these enigmatic little side spaces, didn’t just walk past them.
you’d think that in the dead of night, where the sleeping houses and silent, empty, half illuminated streets extend in four directions into infinity, it would be impossible for anything to sneak up on you, appear out of nowhere. but very occasionally i’m reminded that’s not the case. once a silhouette coalesced about 50 feet ahead of me on the sidewalk. an interloper. was clearly fucked up on some substance, i don’t know what. staggering, muttering unintelligibly, drooling, just zombie-like. we walked right past each other, practically brushing shoulders, and then the person disappeared, couldn’t have existed for more than 40 seconds total. another time, a huge, wise dog was suddenly a few feet away, sitting next to a tree, when i glanced in a yard to my immediate left. as tall sitting as i was standing, the dog was perfectly still and silent, had been patiently watching me.
the outdoor christmas light galaxies neighbors generously leave up all winter, floating luminescent spheres and spirals, promise warmth and healing, i always suspect. but i’m not going to trespass on someone’s yard and stand under the jack pine just to find out.
a dog, unseen, howled several times as i walked by an alley. was it deliberately left out here, or forgotten?
mundanely mysterious, overfamiliar yet unbounded. for all the time i’ve spent exploring this world, occasionally taking new routes but mostly retracing my steps, and for all the interior room i’ve made for its sensory offerings—it never appears in my dreams.