Outside at night

Eventually I got over my long lingering childhood fear of darkness. Even became a nightwalker, though years ago on the backroads of northwestern Ontario, the old phantom could still crawl into a thought. Ripple out from under some bed or slip through a crack in the curtains. Appear in solitary headlights, twig snap or a scurried rustle in the underbrush. Then, with a brisker step I encouraged it. Quietly dared. Drew it up. Pushed it down. Growled and led the curious dance until I was home.

Light from an upstairs window falls just beyond where I’m sitting. Contemplating. Considering the past among the delicately twisted silhouettes of potted plants. Morning Glory and Blacked Eyed Susan. Grape vines climb onto exposed rafters. Spiders spin their webs and a white rock with a hole in it hangs from a wire.

Quarry Brook runs loud. It rained all day, torrential at times. Now a warm wind bends and tosses the trees. Fades and returns. Keeps the mosquitos down. The swing’s rusty chain could use some oil.

Something far off keeps banging and making the dog bark. It could be thunder but it’s not. More like a big steel door but its not that either. She wants to go inside. Has no patience for me sitting here, staring into the night.

One hand cupped behind an ear, better to hear the wind.


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