Lately, I’ve been taking an evening constitutional around the block. It tends to be sometime around 10 p.m. after the youngest is in bed and it’s truly cooled off and the mosquitoes have returned to their puddles.
It’s a short walk, to be sure, and every night is a little different. Last week, I noticed that the gall wasp eggs had disappeared from the gutters and cracks underneath the oaks. No more little hopping chattering spheres among the leaf duff. They all seem to have gone at once, but I haven’t seen a horde of stingless wasps, so I suspect their absence is due to a broom.
Around the block is a giant cedar, canted like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The branches are thick and barky, although the needles seem to be edging toward brown. The neighbors next door are having a spirited game of ping-pong in the garage.
The swings at Sierra 2 squeak and creak as laughing teens rendezvous to do whatever teens do in a playground at night. I was more of a hidden tree fort in the hills teen myself, although I’m sure I slid down my share of slides I was too old for.
Water running into the street! My inner klaxons sound, and my high horse strides up, eagerly awaiting a mount. Visions of the perfectly-worded holier-than-thou note dance into view… and retreat as I realize the counterproductivity of snark. Mental note to include water usage plea in monthly column.
Flicker, flicker, flicker. Here’s Game of Thrones through the picture window, the Giants on plasma above the fireplace, a signal lost icon bouncing endlessly across a blue screen, couples and families and singles getting in one last screen fix before bed.
Light rail whirrs and chirps to the west. Highway 99 hums and thrums to the east. A lightless black-clad bicyclist, helmet swinging jauntily on the handlebars, tries his best to earn a trip to the hospital, but there are no cars to accommodate his unspoken request. Perhaps a collision with a cricket will have the same effect; for now, at least, there is no object lesson.
Around the last corner, and the echo of my flip-flops sends a kitten skittering. Porch lights gleam, and bang! There goes the neighbor’s security light as the fleeing feline trips a sensor. One more driveway, and I’m home, already looking forward to tomorrow night.