This was the first night in a few weeks’ time that I went for my nightly walk. I made the mistake of downloading a crime app a couple of months back, and since the time change there has been an unsettling number of robberies in the area — during normal (non-wee) hours.
Only one of them occurred on my actual route (and at 6:40 in the evening, no less), but it’s enough to make a single girl stay in. Darkness + crime = not my cup of tea. Tonight, however, I couldn’t help myself. My feet were getting bored. Besides, Christmas lights are beginning to blanket the neighborhood.
While my walk was pleasant and much-needed, I couldn’t help but shake a nagging feeling once I got home. It’s funny, this feeling — because on one hand, it speaks to a routine that I so enjoy at times. Wake up, shower, work, come home, change, walk, shower, sleep. Grounding, yet maddening.
Sort of like the lights that I saw.
Orange, green, red, yellow, blue. Orange, green, red, yellow, blue. Orange, green, red, yellow, blue. Orange, green, red, yellow, blue. Orange, green, red, yellow, blue. Lovely at first — mesmerizing, even — then it’s gone. The magic is gone. Where seconds before one could see beauty in the expected pattern of holiday warmth, I was quickly left wanting more — but exactly what, I wasn’t quite sure. Perhaps something not so predictable?
As my walk continued, I found out what I didn’t need. I didn’t need an inflatable Christmas lawn decoration — and certainly not one of a mischievous reindeer driving a bulldozer with a flattened Mrs. Claus underneath. I didn’t need driveways lined with fake miniature pine trees, oversized ornaments hanging off the eaves of homes and I definitely wasn’t in the mood for red and white striped candy canes lining walkways. I’ve seen them all before — on last year’s walks, to be exact. I thought I’d head out tonight and feel as though I was embracing a long-lost friend, but I didn’t. Instead, I felt like another year had slipped away.
It might be OK if I felt like I was going somewhere, too. Wherever all the time went, I’d also like to visit. Wherever my cherished moments ended up, I’d like to also be. How do I get it all back? Why can’t we rewind or — at the very least — hit the pause button? In the meantime, I suppose I’ll continue searching for ways to slow down the year (and next), and to mix it up a bit — without getting too crazy and ditching the routine entirely, naturally. On one hand, routine is where we inevitably find ourselves, it seems. But once we find it, we might turn it on its head and switch things up — which is a routine in itself, I guess. Whatever our style, tonight I am thankful for knowing that even a burned out bulb or a repeated color on our Christmas lights of life are things we can either choose to frown upon or embrace. One is routine, the other is adventure.
Here’s to finding a burned out bulb, a hiccup in the strand.