It's that time of the year when the sun sets late in the evening, and there is still sunlight by the time I reach home from work. As always, the first order of business is to walk my dog, Fidelma, who already knows by heart the several routes we take around the neighborhood. Summer, however, affords us an opportunity to break the routine and head for Van Saun Park which lies approximately three quarters of a mile from our home.
The park feels different at that time of the day. The same place is a different place at a different time. We are normally there on Mondays, several times during the day, and spend a combined time of three hours walking the grounds, sitting at nice, cozy spots and enjoying the breeze. It's always a struggle to lead Fidelma forth and on our way although that by itself will bring new joy to her. She truly enjoys the place. It must be a combination of scents and mysterious-looking underbrushes that keeps her interested.
But our late evening walks entail continuous walking. By then, 830pm, the sun has set below the horizon, only its afterglow lights up the sky and even that is quickly fading. One can see gaggles of geese beginning to settle in, assuming their respective positions on the ground, the elders checking and rechecking their surrounding, sensing that darkness will upon them soon.
Most park visitors leave at this time, their headlights shine brilliantly in the growing darkness. It is at this point that I expect park security to approach and ask us to leave ourselves, but more often than not they don't come at all. It might be different if we had a car parked somewhere, but we are on foot. And so, we continue our stroll.
By the time we decide to leave, the park is in total darkness. And then, the place feels like an alien place even more. It's almost like we have to leave to honor the privacy of the animals in the park, and not because some park rule said so. It's the animals' very own time in the park, and we must respect it. I hope we haven't upset them too much.