the nocturnal dream

I went to a show tonight, but it finished early. So, left with an extra hour before I needed to go home and nothing to do, I thought I would drive over to Meadowbrook Park and take a walk. I parked in the Race Street lot, and noticed two other cars there. I saw some movement in the garden plots ahead of me. I wondered about these nocturnal gardeners, why they were there so late. The same reason as me, perhaps, although why was that? As I got out of the car and looked along the park path, I wondered how good of an idea this had been. The path looked awfully dark, and I knew I would probably just get scared and go running back to the car. But I tried anyway. And I’m glad I did, because once I began to walk along the path and my eyes adjusted, the dark was no problem at all.

The path enters some woods. The sky was light, from light pollution, I suppose. Although perhaps from the late setting of the summer sun, as well. It was 10:30 but the sun can throw rays across the horizon for a while after it goes down. With the trees overhead the light from the sky wasn’t so visible, but there was still an ethereal glow about the place. The forest looked enchanted; I walked alone through the trees undisturbed by anything. And sharing the peace with me were multitudes of fireflies, more than I had ever seen before. There was a constant glow of them, literally dozens wherever I looked. Always lighting, going out, lighting again. It was beautiful.

I left the woods and walked along a path along the edge of the prairie, between the trees and the grasses. Here there was a little more light, and I was interrupted only by the occasional rabbit scurrying off into the underbrush. From the trees I heard a sound that I could not quite identify until I felt the first drops of rain upon my head. The clouds held their peace, however, and I continued on my way.

I walked all the way to the other playground. As I approached I could hear the cars along Windsor. I didn’t like that nearly as much, it removed me from nature and made me half-fear it again. I was going to walk over the wooden observation deck, but thought better of it. So I turned and walked along Windsor, but again the cars, although peaceful and pleasantly surreal in their own way, brought me too far back to civilization; the night sounds of the prairie to my left now frightened me a bit. But I knew it was just because the cars distracted me from being able to accept nature on its own terms, so I turned off of the road and back down a path that went straight through one of the expanses of prairie grass. I walked back, welcoming the increasing number of fireflies and solitary tranquility of the night.

I went back a different way than I came, making a large circle. As I walked by the empty gardens of the retirement home, I had my only real scare of the evening. A deer jumped as I approached, and set my heart racing. I stood there collecting myself, coolly regarding the doe from about 15 feet away. I couldn’t quite make out in the darkness whether or not she was looking at me, but I’d like to think we spent a minute or two staring at each other and replacing our surprised fright with respect for another nocturne. The deer took a few steps away, going back to nibbling on the senior citizens’ gardening. I watched it for a bit more, then set off for the car.

I could see the car already when the deer surprised me, and so I quickly came back the parking lot. One of the two other cars that had been there when I arrived was gone, but somewhere in the public gardening plots there was one of those night gardeners, still working their mysterious green thumb by the light of the night. I couldn’t even see them until I was nearly back the car, no matter how hard I searched for a sign of movement. I would have almost liked to go say hello, but I imagine part of the appeal of working at night is the solitude. I didn’t turn my lights on until I was pointed away from the plots, hoping not to bother the night-time agriculturalist.

I drove away reveling in the experience. I should like to do it again. In fact, I think I will.

5 Responses to “the nocturnal dream”

  1. Alex Talbott Says:

    what tha fuck is up tom

  2. tom Says:

    Nothing but what’s written here. How’re you?

  3. al j. Says:

    that sounds so tight. a real dear….not dead on the side of the road. that’s nice

  4. tom Says:

    They’re hardly novel, though. I grew up with them in the backyard all the time

  5. mark Says:

    green thumb? u sure it wasnt people gettin friendly with each other?

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