It’s no secret that I like to go on urban hikes at night. It’s okay during the day, but night is really where this city excels.
Instead of paying $14, trying to find parking downtown and then seeing Damien Jurado, I decided on an urban hike this evening. My goal was to head down to the local park and swing on the swings and reminisce and get a little motion sickness. The full moon was out and the evening was tremendous. Is tremendous.
On my way to the park, I headed up a street I’ve never walked up before. I noticed a house to my left with a substantial collection of wind chimes, all silent in the still early evening air. As I went to investigate, I met a new friend.
A bit shy at first, this scraggly stray took a moment to size me up. After it was clear that I was no threat, he was quickly a charming fellow warrior of the night. We hung out and chatted about the weather and wind chimes. How a still night air makes a wind chime seem less magnificent and at the same time less annoying. As I sat on the curb, he purred and walked circles under my bent knees. He took breaks from his pacing and returned to eating the grass as I texted my friend about the evening plans. We walked down to the next streetlight so I could take his picture in the dim glow of the fluorescent lamp. If I’d have asked, I bet he would have followed me home and fought with Captain John Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise for the position of cat of glory of Albatross Island.
At this point, I didn’t need to walk the rest of the way to the park. I agreed to a movie at my friend’s house and headed home. There’s no substitute for these evening walks. To be awed by the quiet of the loud city. To see a glimpse of how hundreds of people have chosen to make their lives by decorating their homes. To meet the other stray cats in the neighborhood as they wander, hunting for something or simply just exploring their neighborhood. I’m curious if the cats walk around with the same awe that I do. The moments of reflection to arrive at the same unalienable fact: no matter what garbage I have to sift through, no matter how terrible life has been to me (or how terrible I perceive it has been), there’s always something here to remind me that it’s sometimes good to be alive.
I have some phone calls to make tomorrow afternoon. Some appointments to keep. A life to re-visualize. It’s time to do more than just survive.