Night Walks

I used to walk with the dog, but her broken foot won’t permit that any more. It feels selfish to be glad about that — no more stopping to sniff every ten feet, to circle and ruminate on the rotation of bowels until I finally lose patience and give the leash a tug. I just want to walk, hands in pockets, podcast in ears, legs in steady rhythm.

Now that it’s November, my evening walk is dark. Now that I have no dog, my intentions are suspect, perhaps. Few people walk in my suburban neighborhood, and fewer still without sniffing, circling dogs. I’m one of the exceptions, but there are a couple others: a man with a long grey beard who trails cigar smoke out of the park; another who, like me, has wires sprouting from his ears. Still, at night, I am an anomaly.

There is just enough ambient light even without a moon to walk through the park without tripping over anything. My groove runs along a paved path. The other night a man with a stalled dog and a flashlight was surprised to hear me approach, a little freaked out, even. He shined the flashlight in my face.

A couple nights later, another encounter in the park, this time with a young buck. I stopped and we stared at each other for a while. We seemed to express equal amounts of surprise and wariness. He had a good set of antlers, powerful hoofs. I had, well, whatever mysterious powers humans might possibly have. I finally resumed my walk along the path, and he finally ran away, legs in steady rhythm.

Published by David Hammond

David Hammond lives and dreams in Virginia with his wife, two daughters, one dog, three rats, and a multitude of insects. During the day, he makes websites. More of his writing can be found at

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