When it comes to exercise, I am a power-walker. To get my daily 30 minutes, I usually go on walks with my mother or my sister around my neighborhood – sometimes in the morning, and sometimes at night.
While I enjoy walking at night better than walking during the morning (less people at night, less congested), it can get a little…
…shall we say, sketchy?
I don’t live in a dangerous area, don’t get me wrong, but anything in a nighttime setting becomes a bit creepier.
Our nighttime walks are no exception.
About halfway through our exercise route, there lies a section of about two blocks that I have always disliked.
There are no sidewalks, no lanes, and no streetlights. The lights in the houses on this street are always off – as if all the houses were abandoned. Barely any cars travel down the road. And it is quiet – only the crunch of gravel from your own footsteps breaks the silence. Not to mention the drooping trees that may be hiding crazed attackers or rabid beasts in their overgrown branches.
My usual response when I encounter this particular area is to look straight ahead (hands balled up in fists and muscles tensed in case I have to make a run for it). Then I book it until I reach the next street light.
One night, however, whilst strolling down the street with my sister, Ashley, my perspective changed completely.
We were walking along, rapidly approaching the dreaded dead-zone up ahead. I calmed myself down in anticipation and quickly reviewed some self-defense maneuvers, just in case.
Ashley was completely unphased. She had been on this walk before, she knew of the two blocks up ahead, she knew how unsettling it was, but she sure didn’t show it. Not even when the light of the last street light faded behind us and the eerie quiet settled in – in fact, she seemed almost excited to be here.
We reached the middle of the dead-zone – the darkest area of the street – and the crunchcrunchcrunch of our running shoes sounded like stock sound effects from a horror film.
While busying myself with trying not to think of a madman with a chainsaw and a burlap sack mask jumping out of the bushes, my sister did the unthinkable.
I looked over to my left, where Ashley was supposed to be, and she had disappeared.
I quickly flipped around only to see her standing about 25 feet behind me, her head craned to look at something above her.
“Dude!?! Ashley!!! Come ON!” I whisper-yelled. I didn’t want the crazed attackers or the rabid beasts in the nearby tree to hear me.
“Nah, come here. Look up!” she called back.
I cautiously made my way over with the main intent of dragging her with me if I could. No mutant animal was going to take me down tonight, no siree!
But then I looked up.
The sky was brilliant. To my utmost surprise, I could pick out constellations and could see parts of the Milky Way. In the darkness of the dead-zone, I could finally see the sky – something that was impossible with all the street lights in our suburban neighborhood.
So we stood in the middle of the darkened street, soaking in the starlit abyss above our heads. Ashley pointed out stars by name (she loves astronomy). We spotted satellites and planets.
It was so cool.
And I completely forgot about the creepiness of this street. The longer I gazed at the sky, the less uncomfortable I felt. I didn’t mind the darkness as much – if it weren’t for the darkness, I couldn’t see the stars.
The darkness didn’t leave, the crazed attackers and rabid beasts were probably still waiting in the bushes, but it wasn’t as bad anymore. I wasn’t afraid. I discovered that no matter how dark or frightening the world may become, there would always be stars in the heavens. All I need to do is look up.
My sister and I stood there for at least 15 minutes just staring up at the sky. Now, every time Ashley and I go on our nightly walk together, I can hardly wait for us to reach the dead-zone so we can just stand and look up at the stars.
They are starting to put ads on our blog. We do not approve these and are not getting any residuals whatsoever, so I apologize for the content. I’ll see what I can do about it.