AS I WALK IN THE DARK      As I Walk at Night

There are times when I walk early in the morning in the dark before the sun rises.  This may occur because it is so hot during the day or I may expect work to be very busy.  On occasions I merely wake up early and feel like taking my walk before the day gets started.  Darkness changes the dimensions of the walk.  When I meet or pass other walkers they seem wary and isolated.  There are no cheery smiles or waves as darkness opens our minds to fears that vanish with the rising of the sun.  In the darkness any light stands out.  I notice the spot-lighted trees and garden plots weakly illuminated by their solar powered lamps.  Orange tinted sodium vapor street lamps glow with their haze of insects ever moving around them mesmerized by their brightness.  Occasionally a bat swoops by grateful for an easy catch.

In the darkness as I walk foot-falls are more distinct.  My ear notes the tap and scrape of every step I take, a sound not noticed during the brightness of the day.  In the dark the path taken is not as certain as in the daylight.  My plans may be to follow this path or sidewalk or that road but in the dark the automatic sprinklers throw up their barriers of spray twinkling in the street lights. At other times sluicing run-off along the roadside muddies the path causing me to veer to the other side.  Early commuters pose a threat as well as they back their vehicles from darkened garages necessitating watchfulness and quickness to avoid being a statistic in the dark.

Cottontails love the darkness too.  As I walk along the path in the pre-dawn they are less afraid or more distracted by the sweet smelling succulent clover.  My approach may go unnoticed until I am within a few feet.  Then, alarm, and several shapes scatter into foundation plantings and shrubbery.  Yet they are silent in their movement had I not been alert I might have missed even this.  Owls with their low who-who sound have surely not missed this and may be waiting for me to move along as they seek their prey in the early hours.


Owners of dogs like the darkness too.  In the early morning often can be found the family pet unchained in their front yard.  Flaunting collar rules it is easier to release the hound to find its own way in the morning than to obediently walk the pet allowing it to do its duty.  Some of these pets do not like walkers and the quiet atmosphere and calmness of the amble can be loudly disrupted by barking and bared teeth.  I have loved dogs in my past, but have also been bitten.  There is a fear inside as uncontrollable as a sneeze that asserts itself regardless of the size of the beast whenever I hear a barking dog.  Dachshund or Doberman makes no difference to my reactions.  My own instincts take over and make my feet want to run.  Thankfully the most common type of dog I am faced with is a terrier or a poodle.  My brain is able to override my fear and I wave pleasantly at the owner who stands at the door calling back their pet.

The beauty of dawn is difficult to match.  It approaches steadily and silently.  Sounds in the air change as houses become more distinct.  The chirping and whirring of the crickets is replaced by robin calls and the skreegh of  the red tail hawk floating above the trees enjoying the first hint of updrafts from the fields.  The first ochre rays of sun cause a rise in the temperature perceptibly and reflect off eastward facing windows of the taller homes.  Traffic begins to pick up as early commuters seek to beat the rush or get an early start on their busy day.  I try to keep my mind on the natural scene but this intrusion moves me toward home as well and into an equally busy day.

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About smcpherson58

Aside from loving chocolate and coffee (not necessarily in that order) Scott McPherson has learned that he loves to write. He writes fiction and, so far, has published two novels. Scott has many varied interests, though he tries to focus on one at a time. He has worked for nearly thirty-five years as a family physician, a pass-time that gives him great pleasure and pays the bills. He has five daughters and dotes upon three grandchildren. Recently married, he really loves life. Scott writes from his life experiences and from travel. His career in the active Air Force was brief, but he has been a member of the Nebraska Air National Guard since just before 9/11 in 2001. The aftermath of that great disaster changed the face of the Guard and led to missions in far-away lands. He has spent time in Turkey, Iraq, Spain, Crete and Guam in missions related to support for Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He has been to Iceland and Antarctica as well. Scott has no personal experience with violent death or murder, but has gained knowledge from experts. In his first novel, “A Step Ahead of Death,” his character, Jack Sharp MD, becomes embroiled in a murder mystery. First as suspect, then as amateur sleuth, Jack tries to make a difference. He finds himself right in the middle of an investigation well beyond the scope of a local murder. A man of faith, Scott traveled to Africa with his small family in the 1980s and served as a medical missionary in Zaire (known as Congo today) with a church organization. The vast difference in what it takes to exist in such an environment served as a basis for much of his second novel, a thriller, “Congo Mission.” His character, Jack, is twenty years younger than in the first novel. In “Congo Mission” Jack serves as a physician in a missionary hospital in the jungles of northwestern Zaire. There he is not only captivated by a young woman visiting the region, but falls victim to his nemesis Jacques Levant. His motivations and faith are tested and his resolve to do God’s work gets pushed to the limit. When he is not writing Scott enjoys walking, a practice that actually led to his first attempt at writing a novel. He began making notes and writing prose about the mundane things around him. He tried to make the details sound interesting, even though it was just for his own pleasure. Eventually he found that he could expand his prose to “what if?” “What if I just kept walking?” “What if I, or my character, found a dead body in the ditch along the side of the path?” That was the premise for the first novel, “A Step Ahead of Death.” Scott McPherson is an avid trombone player and has played since he was nine years old. He marched in the Cornhusker Marching Band at the University of Nebraska and now takes advantage of one free football game a year by playing in the half-time show with the UNL Alumni Marching Band. He plays in the Lincoln Civic Orchestra and a community band from the nearby town of Waverly, Nebraska. Scott loves to sing as well, though his range seems to have diminished in recent years. He has sung in college and church choirs and remembers performing parts of Handel’s Messiah as a highlight of his singing experience. One little-known fact about Scott is that he once sang soprano in a boys choir. Scott plans to keep writing as long as the ideas flow and others show interest in his stories. He loves to interact with other writers or readers about what has become a passion in his life. Reviews are always welcome as are questions and comments.
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