Thursday, January 10, 2013
Late night walks
Every night around 10 or 11 I take the dogs through the garden gate and the down the hill onto the swale and walk under the pepper tree and along the ridge where you can hear the sounds of cars on Laurel Canyon and sometimes helicopters circling overhead. It's like the land of the Moomintrolls at night -- dark skies, tall fir trees, twinkling stars. The Frenchie stays close to me and the Dalmatians are easy to spot, even in the dark because they are mostly white. They sniff around, eat some grass, listen for coyotes, the hooting of owls. My father used to do this. It reminds me of him now, when it's so cold outside, far colder than we're used to in LA. He walked to get away from dinner guests. He walked perhaps to sober himself. But mostly, I think, he walked his dogs late at night because he enjoyed being alone with them and the stars. Even in Norway, when the dogs were home in England, he'd walk around the mountain after supper on the little island, and sometimes I'd go with him. It wasn't dark there. It never gets dark in the summer in Norway. We'd walk in the pink twilight, not saying very much, listening to the gulls and waiting for the evening star. Tonight it's windy and cold. Tonight I'm reminded why we go outside -- to feel like ourselves again, to detach from the devices we are connected to all day long, to know what cold fingers feel like, and chattering teeth, and to remember the way that the stars light up the sky as they have done since the beginning of time.