It's nighttime but not late. And I'm walking, as I often do, around our suburban neighborhood, stealing a few moments away from the family hubbub.
I'm always surprised by how hushed everything can be out here. There are signs of life inside the houses, the glare of kitchen lights and computer screens. But all I hear along my path are crickets, an occasional barking dog and the faint hum of traffic in the distance.
These outings bring to mind the portentous Ray Bradbury story, "The Pedestrian," in which a man walking the streets of some futuristic metropolis goes for miles and miles every night without seeing a soul. Finally one evening the police stop him, demanding to know what he's doing, why he's not sitting at home like everyone else watching TV. "I'm walking," he explains. The police keep pressing him. "Walking where? For what?" Then he says, to their utter disbelief, "Walking for air, walking to see ... and just to walk."
Tonight, with no one else around, there's so much air, so much to see. The stars are all mine.