I like rituals and habits.
Last night I took the requisite night-time walk around the neighborhood. I do not consider myself a resident of any particular place until I have accomplished a night-time stroll. I believe this tradition started when I was very little, and my Dad would come get me out of bed and take me on long walks around the neighborhood. Sometimes we would even drive to other neighborhoods, just to see what they looked like at night. One time, after a huge snow-storm, we bundled up in all our snow clothes and walked through the cemetery by our house. I remember that the moon was very bright, and the snow glittered, and that we kept bumping into gravestones and memorial benches buried under the snow.
My mother knew nothing of this tradition until 3rd grade, when I wrote a short story about waiting for my mom to go to bed so my dad could come take me on a walk. I titled my short story "Moonshadow,"* and at the time, my mother was understandably annoyed with my father, having discovered both the cause of my early-morning grumpiness, and of my habit for my falling asleep in class.
Now I live in my own neighborhood, and take walks by myself. My father searched in vain for a replacement co-walker, but failed. My siblings are an unreliable bunch. ** Sometimes, we call each other around 11:00 pm and meet each other for walks. Sometimes, I will be walking, and a car will pull up next to me. It always freaks me out until I realize it is my Dad.
*After the Cat Stevens song, of course.
**Except for now, my youngest brother Clark goes with him. I think Clark, being the most intelligent of my siblings, realized that there may be a direct correlation between money left to children in wills, and the regularity that said children participate in walks. So well played, Clark. Your motives might not be pure, but your ambition is admirable.
I am pleased to report that our neighborhood seems very night-time walk friendly.