Friday, January 20, 2023

Without Obligations—A Widow's Walk on the Town

An unaccompanied adult, widowed and unbound from obligations on a holiday’s eve, can walk a town alone on a frigid night and raise no suspicions, no concerns as to what she is about while she captures the loom of old buildings against the velvet fogged skies,  

the solicitations of streetlight shadows, "cross hither,"

and lights fuzzed soft, jeweled by the freezing air.

Only one car is parked in the five blocks of downtown. 

Only one couple strolls ahead of me. 

Only one man casts a shadow at a crosswalk.

Only a few cars pass as if erratically-tossed footballs post game.

 Everyone else must be at a celebration, eating leftovers and discussing... more football. I’ve come from a holiday dinner hosted at my cabin from which everyone has scattered homeward across the state or to another celebration. I’m left to walk alone with only my delighted breath, its cloud of crystals in the cold air accompanying me.

Widowhood—or any expansive time alone—allows for the practice in the art of consulting with oneself over impulsive endeavors. The gathering of options (the shoulds and the shoulds not), the inner dialogue (hmmm...), and the final decision takes less time than it does to turn off a car and step into the cold night air.

Had I tried to encourage someone to leave the warmth of the heated car seats while I took a few photos of the old Liberty Theatre, now delightfully devoid of the usual cars parked across its front, they might have acquiesed or chosen to stay in the car.

Without obligations, I wandered back and forth across the empty streets enjoying the city's holiday light displays as if they were meant for an audience of one, a widow on a walk.

The farther I walked, the colder my fingers, the colder my toes, the more pleased I became with my choice.

Rare it is to have a town to oneself. At night the closing of an old established store, it's facade brilliantly lit and yet soon to be extinguished, felt more grevious than in the daylight.

The circumstances of this walk: a winter holiday (sans tourists in a tourist town), a nippy forecast, the lack of momentarily any company, and a practiced consultation with a party of one all made this evening unforgettable.

Night, Foggy Town

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