Relax! This is not a post about trump burning huge garbage bags full of official White House records. It’s not about the Canadian trucker “protest” being fomented by white American terrorists. And we can blessedly ignore Joe Rogan for the moment.

No, this post is about the sometimes surprising contrast between inside and outside and how being inside creates one set of assumptions that being outside contradicts. I refer here specifically to the contrasts between light and dark, between safe or unsafe walkways.

Let’s begin with light. I’m sure you’ve had this experience: shadows lay claim to the corners of the dining room, the hallway darkens. You snap on a light and wonder what to make for dinner. But then let’s suppose you step outside for some reason — a package arrives or you suddenly need to draw fresh air into your lungs.

And you are surprised to find that the landscape is still in thrall to day. It seems hours earlier. The canopies are burnished with light, the yards clearly visible. You shake your head.

Let’s continue with sidewalks. The dire weather coverage these days is enough to make even a stalwart New Englander curl up under a blanket and leave the dog to his own devices. It’s not about snow. It’s about snow changing to rain and then sleet and back again. It’s about the invisibility of black ice. It’s how a moderately shoveled sidewalk becomes more hazardous than an unshoveled one after a fine coating of freezing rain.

So, do I or don’t I?

A friend canceled a weekend walk and when she canceled again today, I wondered whether to risk it. After all, a cold, needle-like rain hit my face as I stood at the back door and flung treats out for Finn’s morning game of Find It. The way they bounced off the frozen surface was not encouraging.

But guess what? It was totally and almost hilariously fine. Walking was fine. Switching from street to sidewalk was fine. We went a different way, the old way, to avoid traffic on Langley but even Langley would have been safe.

I was able to sink into walker’s mind — that particular way of thinking that arises halfway through an hour long walk. I thought about how moved I was by all the comments yesterday. I thought about the damage and trauma already experienced, and the damage to come. It was not depressing somehow. Walking-mind thoughts rarely are.

And as if that wasn’t enough, a red-tailed hawk sailed overhead and landed at the top of a pine tree near the intersection of Ridge and Parker. So very fine.

13 thoughts on “Threat

  1. Tina

    Happy Belated Birthday I love your picture!! I’m a bit behind reading here. Hard to believe Covid has been around for 2 years .. 2 long scary hard years. I always use the saying “in a heartbeat “ life as we know it can change. So happy we are all here to talk about all the craziness in politics 🤬🤬 climate change 🥶🥶 most importantly ❤️❤️.

    1. deemallon Post author

      My birthday’s later in the week actually but thank you! The “in a heartbeat” metaphor is really apt for anyone who loves a stroke survivor, isn’t it? How close we all are, really.

  2. Jennifer

    So very fine. So very wonderful!
    I love stepping out at dusk when there’s still so much light left in the day, and looking back at the lit windows. And walker’s mind!💕

  3. Nancy

    That is so true about a walker’s mind. And Finney’s face looking out. He has eyes like my first dog, Sonny. Last – black ice – a fear of mine, now that I haven’t encountered it in years.

  4. Liz A

    your post holds echoes of one I’ve been writing in my mind lately about why I don’t walk much … it has everything to do with feeling safe, or the lack thereof … the inherent threats that walking can pose … you are fortunate to have walking companions (both two-legged and four-legged) who mitigate some of those threats

  5. Liz A

    falling yes, but also loose dogs and men … it’s a long story, but I can’t ever forget the guy who exposed himself and then followed me as I ran back to my car during a solo beach walk many years ago … the resulting hyper-vigilance has never left me

    1. deemallon Post author

      I didn’t mean to in any way downplay what happened to you that day on the beach. Just terrifying. I meant to point to a culture where such fear is pervasive with or without provocative.


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