Most nights I walk the dogs from sunset until the darkness settles in for the night. I have a leashed hound on either side. I listen to a podcast and we walk, quickly. We climb hills and and explore neighborhoods. Sometimes I have no podcast and listen to the birds quieting for the night, cars rumbling in the distance, dogs barking, streetlights humming, and wind blowing.
The voyeur in me loves looking into the yellow glow of houses. People watching TV, eating, talking, working, sleeping. Sometimes we make eye contact as I pass by, a strange intimacy to see someone in their home.
We walk faster and faster until the three of us are breathless. Yesterday I was walking fast when I felt a car slowing beside me. I stiffened, nervous. Then it came, the "wooooooo" of a creeper. That sound is so unsettling. I have heard it many times, but it is never a good feeling. I made my best angry face and turned to give the passengers a look. As I turned they shouted more,"BASSET HOUNDS RUUUULE!" It was my friend, and she was messing with me. My heart slowed. I smiled and laughed, thankful that it was a creep that I know and love.
I focus my attention on the wind blowing through the highest treetops, wondering what it must feel like in the squirrel nests as they sway in the dark. I watch the waxing gibbous moon and spot the first few stars. I smell the spices from houses where a cook clearly lives. I feel the cold air on my cheeks and nose. I listen to the jangle of dog collars and the fast breathing as short legs move long bodies. I am thankful.