So much depends on light and time of day. When I was young and spent the night at a friend's house I often didn't sleep well, woke early and laid in my sleeping bag, which was typically unrolled on the living room floor or couch. I'd watch the light creep around the drawn curtains, glowing at the edges, trickling up along the textured ceiling. I lay on my back staring at the walls and carpeted floors, listening to the unfamiliar sounds from the kitchen, the ticking of the fridge, the drip of water from a faucet, the cat playing with the kibble in its dish, or even the early morning birds chirping outside the window. It was all foreign to me; I was used to these places in the afternoons when we played with Star Wars action figures, sipped Fanta Red Cream Soda and snacked on graham crackers and chocolate frosting. The silence and dimness made me uncomfortable and I was quick to leave once the house came to life, thanking the parents, declining breakfast and gathering my things. I'd race home on Trigger, my black dirt bike and hurry inside where my mother sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee and listening to the Oldies Hour on 95 Alive, 94.9 FM. Dan, my former step-father, would be in the driveway washing and waxing the cars, the sound of the water running through the pipes all around us. The sound of TV drifted up from downstairs where Casey would be curled up on the big pillow chair watching it. These were the things I was used to, that I was lost without.
Duncan and I walked Lilley Gulch early this morning, a little after nine before the sun was all the way up, when the sky was blade blue and clear and the breeze was clean and a little sharp. It was much brighter than our afternoon walk last week and the entire stretch of green-way seemed different, bleached, maybe. The sounds were different, too, different bird calls from the trees that run along both sides, squirrels scrambling up and down their trunks chasing each other rather than lounging on branches and boughs. Children were out on the their bikes and playing in the brook that passes right down the middle. That rich, Spring smell was gone, too, replaced by frying bacon and eggs wafting through open windows. I could hear the television sound of pundits babbling on those Sunday morning talking head news shows. It was not the walk I expected, with very little of the quiet and calm I'd hoped for. Lilley Gulch is an afternoon walk, a place that's best with the sun low before us, the calm of the afternoon settling across the park.
Sundays are not Fridays, but Duncan is always Duncan; morning or afternoon he is beautiful. My most precious constant.