A few nights ago, I saw some folks talking a stroll around my apartment complex. I thought how lucky they were because it was a beautiful night. I usually walk before dusk so I don’t have to worry about reflective clothing or running into unfriendly strangers in the dark. But, as the breeze beckoned me I began to entertain the idea of a nighttime walk. It was really nice out. Traffic would be lighter at night and I could wear some light colored clothing.
After some stretching, I took off at 9:10pm. I set a goal of two laps and no ER visits due to a vehicular run-in. Within the first 20 feet, I could tell my hip flexors were pliable. The stretches hadn’t felt that successful but apparently they were. My legs were flying. The breeze chilled my cheekbones. It felt so good. I was already glad I had decided to take a nighttime walk.
As I rounded the first bend, my eyebrows raised and a slow smile crept across my face. Before me was a big, full moon. It was creamy yellow and sitting behind some wispy clouds. It was stunning. As I deeply inhaled, I heard that little inside voice say, “This is why it’s good to be alive.”
My stride was long and confident. I knew I was making great time. I started to focus on the twist of my obliques, the slight swivel of my hips, and the hard cinch of one glute as the opposite leg pedaled forward. I had no doubts that the human body is just as amazing as that moon. I realized the areas on the asphalt that are usually wet were dry. Things just kept getting better and better. Me, a cool breeze, the privacy of darkness, fluid joints, my iPod, and dry asphalt. No worries. No careening cars or lewd comments from passing motorcyclists. Just me with my uninterrupted thoughts. In the silence between songs, I could hear the reassuring rhythm of my feet on the asphalt. This felt so good it had to be wrong. Walking at night was my new found guilty pleasure.
As I rounded the last bend on my first lap, I glanced up and noticed Orion’s Belt. I was pleasantly surprised to see a constellation. I had stopped looking up at the Illinois sky years ago. Ninety-nine percent of the time what you think is a star is just a passing plane. But, this was an actual constellation. I silently said hello to my old friend.
I got so lost in my thoughts that I lost track of how many laps I had done. Was that the second or third lap? I had no idea. But, I wasn’t ready to cash in the breeze against my cheeks, the rising full moon, and my ache-free legs.
Eventually, I decided I should say good-bye to this amazing experience and get back to my to-do list. I took one last look at the moon between the branches of a leaf-less tree. It was so beautiful. It made me so grateful to be alive.
Posted: Friday, April 30th, 2010