In this city, near the hospitals and sirens and the sickly glow of streetlights, I walked down a path I’d never been down before, at dusk, the dog tapping quietly along beside me. Everything was in shades of blue – the clouds smeared, inky, across a paler sky, and the birds silhouetted in winter’s naked trees. The planks of the boardwalk shone in the first hesitant moonlight, an imaginary river leading to the woods. The traffic roar was muted in that dark blue hollow, and the bird song clutched at my throat and eyes with a painful squeeze of hope. In the thick, oily water gathered around the reeds, the moon hung small and determined, and the trees seemed to lean in to add their reflection.
The air had the smell of approaching spring, intensifying with the darkness as it gathered around me - telling me, gently, to go home. I turned, heading back along the boardwalk with its gathering dew, chased by the reassuring sound of the dog huffing in the cold, biting air. The fuzzy orange of the street got closer, light seeping down and touching the edges of the valley, and I slowed my steps. In front of me, a fox darted into my path, then stopped, appraising me, before walking calmly on. The dog stood beside me, interested, then followed me back to the street.