the power of dark

This morning’s walk in all that lovely blackness, stars still out and street lights on—just the way I like it. In a few weeks we ‘fall back’ and mornings will be much brighter. I have no idea why we persist in this time altering routine every year. Didn’t it originate with children needing to help with farm chores before walking ten miles to school? Uphill. Both ways. Something like that. Light was important, that’s all I remember.

But that was before it was everywhere. All the time. Surely we could do with less of it now.

So I get up early and walk and in the darkness, I pass a young woman, she looks cosy in a pink hoodie, carries a large drinking container, presumably coffee [I’m not sure tea drinkers are as prone to wander about with flasks of chamomile and lapsang souchong, but I could be wrong]. Beside her an acorn coloured dog about the size and shape of a rolled up newspaper, walks in that sprightly way of short-legged canines who stroll with long-legged humans. She stares straight ahead, and the contrast between her yawning demeanor and the dog’s peppy Isn’t this great, isn’t this fun, doncha love a walk, doncha, doncha, doncha, wanna go faster, wanna throw me a stick, go ahead, throw me one, throw me one, isn’t this just so GREAT??!! vibe makes me smile. We exchange pleasant good mornings as we pass each other and I think what a civilized thing it is to greet a stranger so early in the day. A tiny celebration of being alive, the kind of greeting that doesn’t always happen on brighter occasions.

We walk the same loop but in opposite directions so a bit later meet again, this time both of us doing what Douglas Adams in The Meaning of Liff  calls the corriecravie:

“…[a] highly skilled process by which both protagonists continue to approach while keeping up the pretence that they haven’t noticed each other…”

By now the streetlights are off, the day’s crept in and we can see each other quite clearly. Pink hoodie maintains her part in the corriecravie by chatting with the previously-ignored acorn pup while I feign interest in the leaves I’m kicking through, although we’re probably both en guarde for making eye contact and chuckling if necessary.

Turns out it’s not.

In the light of day we pass each other without a glance.

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