I had eaten badly during the day and was tired, full, and grumpy with myself. And tired. So I had a choice. Did I go to take a nap (what I wanted to do) or something else? I decided to do the something else, and I went out for a walk.
It was about 60 degrees, and clear as a bell yesterday evening. I live in a small town in Missouri, so I can walk just about anywhere I want to go without a problem. It is pretty flat, too, as an added bonus.
You can get a real sense of your neighborhood. I am a bit fixated with food, but the thing I like best about walking through town at about 6 pm is that I can smell people's cooking. The yellow house is grilling outside tonight, with charcoal, and the one with the green shutters smells of garlic -- maybe Italian? The kids at the corner are sitting outside on a couch that has a sign saying "Take me! I'm free!" drinking bottles of American beer and eating cheese pizza from a delivery box (it is the night of reading day in the middle of finals week). Sometimes I get a whiff of curry. Several years ago when one of my friends had just moved to town (she is originally from Mumbai) I remember walking up to her house for dinner and being utterly transported by the smells that were spilling out from her door.
There are all sorts of animals out in the evenings -- both human (of course) and otherwise. Fluffy and not so fluffy cats. I know the ones on my own street for a block or so, but after that I saw some new ones. There is a gorgeous tuxedo cat -- looks short haired except for a big ruff around her neck (somehow I assumed it was female, but there was no evidence for that). No kittens. Perhaps too early in the year? But I remember walking with my mom in the evenings in the summers and playing with all the kittens that had "sprung up" along our route. The birds are settling down, and soon we will again be hearing the owls and the night hawks. I heard an owl somewhere on the block a week ago, but they aren't back in full feather, so to speak. In the summers there are a lot around.
And there are the flowers right now -- the spirea is just getting started, and the irises and azaleas are stunning. Several flowering bushes I don't know the names of, but yellow and pink and white, and purple wildflowers in the grasses (there are few violets left, but all sorts of pretty weeds). It is supposed to freeze across the border in Iowa tomorrow night, but here it is just into the low 40s. So people are starting to buy and plant the marigolds and such from the hardware stores. All flowers and trees (particularly the ones with whiter barks) look glowing in the light of the setting sun.
I ran into a couple of friends with their son out for a walk, and I walked with them to and from the Walgreens to get their son some chocolate ice cream in a cup. She (the Indian-American woman, in fact) got some Turkish apricots, which were fresh (dried, but really soft) and delicious. I bought some water, and enjoyed the apricot. But I had eaten heavily, and really shouldn't do the ice cream too often, anyway, much as I love it.
It was a relaxing hour, invigorating, peaceful. I saw a few people I knew, and a few I didn't. I liked the smell of the evening, of the dirt, and garlic. And the quietness of the evening -- the wind had finally died down and the sun was like liquid gold.
I should do that more often.