Friday, January 18, 2013

The hammock swing

It is still hot.  I drink water.  I sit in air conditioned restaurants with friends who don't want to be outside in the heat.  I love the heat though.

So sometime after I get home, after 9pm, I head off.  I walk.  One foot in front of the other, across the bridge down the bike path, under the trees.  I walk along the path I usually run, cutting through the warm air.  Moving forward.  One step.  Then the next.

At first I am walking just to walk.  Then I remember a destination, a place I have run past many times, and though it always catches my interest, the rhythm of my runs stop me from stopping.  Walking there is taking longer than running, but I have more time to observe. I walk down the path and pass houses with their lights on, their occupants inside, resting and avoiding the heat.  One house has fairy lights stretched through its garden, passable as backyard decoration, rather than Christmas.  Surely it is too late for that.  These are lazy summer days, hot and begging us to rest.

The path stretches on.  My feet keep moving, and my mind quietens.  I cross roads.  I think about the dark, and feel safe, though I am alone, a little melancholy and wishing I had some company.   Then I arrive at the park, and find it free.  I jump on the swing hammock and it rocks underneath me.  I could fall asleep as I rock, and I wonder if I could stay here on this swing in the Canberra suburbs all night.

Above me the silhouette of the canopy spreads across the sky, behind that clouds and breaking through them a crescent moon, and stars.  I close my eyes and rock, then open them to enjoy the trees. I am in no hurry to move, happy just lying here.

Then suddenly I hear voices.  The end of this rest, I think, and jump up quickly.  Without hesitation I begin walking again, heading back home, this time along the road.  My peace disturbed I feel a little less safe, but quickly regather.  My own shadow towers over me as I walk home, and I know that any other would appear quickly too.  The occasional car drives past and adds to my comfort.  And there are no people about.

It is hot.  But I love the heat.  One day, maybe, I will live in a place that is hot like this most of the year, somewhere where most of the people step out of their houses on nights like this, and there is no reason to fear a voice in the night.  And where some of those people might walk with me.

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