Tonight I opened my door and it was dark outside. The neighbors were all home and the streets were quiet. Abandoned. Free. It had rained most of the day and the streets were wet still. The air was heavy; clean, cool and damp breezes against my face.
Dark. Cool. Empty. Unexplored.
I drove down towards the park and turned left, leaving the last other car on the road behind. A road unknown. Left the window down. Cool damp air. Wet sweet grass. Wet flowers. Cool swamp. Wet cedar trees. Rain.
I had no idea this area was so undeveloped. I passed only the rare house or two. Old barns right up against the road. Dark wet road threading dark wet woods. New pavement. Or perhaps under-used. Black and smooth.
"Don't hit the frogs" Frogs love the wet.
"Don't look into the woods" I looked into the woods. The flicker of trees as the headlights brushed against them. Just the ones closest to the roads. The rest is black and silent. New tires on new wet pavement.
I supposed I would like a passenger, but the experience as a passenger is entirely different. You aren't the one deciding to take your foot off the brake and coast around the tight, swinging curves. You don't pick left or right. Same journey, but completely unique.
There's that moment or two when I think, "You'll get lost! Turn back! You'll forget the way! You don't know where you are! Blackness and woods! Alone! Turn back!" Ghosts
Sometimes I do.
Tonight I held out for a good hour or so until a turn put me on a familiar road. I don't know where I have been tonight, but it felt clean and good. Peaceful. Therapeutic. There are things to be scared of, to be sure. But sometimes I need to drive.
It was good to smell the summer smells. It reminded me of the summers I used to spend my vacation nights doing the same thing, only on foot. My word, how I miss doing that. Walking through the night in the woods on dirt and gravel paths. So dark that the only way I know I am still on the path is by the sound of my footsteps. A blackness so complete it nearly gives me vertigo. Walking. At night. Silence. Wind. Something I could never do here for fear of mugging or worse. I //cherish// those walks. The safety that is impossible here. I would walk hours, alone, until I could see the path again. The fingers of dawn stretching, now pushing me all the way back to my tent. Get home before... And still it would be quiet except for the birds. Just as the first (annoyingly) early stirrings of human life occurred I would slip into my tent and draw the zipper closed.
"What did you do last night?"
"I put everyone to bed."
Sure, I'd go to the parties. I'd go to a LOT of the parties. I'd find all those pockets of parties. And when the party was winding down I'd be out walking long after the revelers were staggering to their beds. (Or someone else's bed.)
I love the night.