Big changes are afoot. The rest of this year I’ll make choices that will probably throw me off the deep-end very often. But I know how to swim. Although, literally and figuratively, knowledge of swimming is not the only thing that saves a person from drowning. However this month, a few months into 2010, I realize that hard times will come…but they will come beckoned.
Nowadays, I take short runs in the night. It’s dark, where I go to run. There are few street lamps surrounding the promenade. There might be one or two where trees are the most dense. This promenade circles a pond that is joined to a marshy creek somewhere else. Mostly, the water in the pond is still. At times, though, the surface shimmers with gentle creases. The water looks like the thin film of cream that begins to form on milk when it’s allowed to settle.
Bats circle in the sky. Those scare me. I have, at one time, seen a silver and black mottled snake slither away into the marshes. It was so beautiful. In the light of a smudged moon and a fistful of stars, the snake looked like a creature specked with magic. A couple of runners ahead of me stopped in their tracks. But I didn’t. Snakes don’t scare me.
Bats are another story, though. I wonder if the moon makes them mad. I wonder if the term ‘batty’ comes from the weird, hap-hazard way they fly about. Not caring for boundaries or for anyone crossing their paths. Swooping down, almost flapping close to the face before taking off again. I run with my heart in my chest. Waiting anxiously for their delirium to settle. It doesn’t happen.
There’s a section of the promenade that’s my favorite. It’s a portion where trees from both sides meet to form some sort of an awning. There’s a streetlamp near by, so the light shines on the leaves. The underbelly of this arboreal cover is what is most fascinating. It looks like it’s glowing. It looks like a surreal entrance into another dimension. It looks like what the rabbit hole might have looked to Alice on a bright summer morning…the day she fell through it.
That path, as I approach it, seems to be laced with something sinister…and promising. It seems to even have a slight smell of dark poison about it. As if crossing it would, at some level, mean that one has stepped over the point of no return. Something is bound to get stuck to the fat, glossy leaves that gleam in borrowed light.
There is darkness that follows this ‘tunnel’ section too. But things look different somehow. There’s a bit more menace, and a lot more beauty. There’s the chutzpah of a dainty woman with a perfect navel, but who looks like she has a mouth on her. She’s smiling now, but she could cuss if she wants to.
Somewhere around there, the lake sees a lot more play. The water trembles a lot more. It feels as if someone is lightly blowing on it. Sometimes lights from the road beyond get reflected and you see a diamond choker dazzle on the surface of the pond.
That part of the promenade has it all:
An illusory souvenir from a cavalier night.
A question of whether a night could ever be so dark, that you can’t see anything at all?
A reminder that the eyes will always, but always, spot the light.