Written at Cougar Village.

Looking up into the predictable night sky, he saunters home. In other climes, he might have been a little high on the freedom of the night to surprise, and to appease his seething exhilaration and bubbling fears. Here, he just paces home in little steps that completely ignore the need for caution, yet a buoyancy remains. Even the geese have gone to bed, and the road is free of any surprises. Only the warm wind blows from all directions, and his open shirt blows with it opening spaces around his armpit and exiting through his similarly open cuffs. From afar and against the background of light – except for the colour of his shirt or the size of his frame – he could have been mistaken for a waving flag, or a moving scarecrow.

Once upon a time this was home to more shuffling feet and heaps of snow. But that was then. Once upon a time, trees and their leaves that now whistle with the night shedding grains of white pollinated flowers were only high and dry, and winter shook the alien city to the barest limit of its own survival. Then there was nothing but death and dryness, and a certain music to the melancholy of heavy and seemingly wounded trees. It was seasonal. Hope had sprung up later like the flowers that now scatter on his head from on top of the tall pine trees. All in one night the change came, suddenly and without warning. Even to him a traveller, it was an unexpected miracle of a seasonal revival.

Like a visitor in a now growing market place, he looks around again with a certain brightness. The fears that returned were about how in a different place and a different time this might have been unwise, coming home at this time of the night. In his mind was something similar to a mother’s scoff of a rage: “Bloody fool, you toss your life around like a game of cards.” The delight in mischief of such confrontations has gone now, and only a nostalgic smile remains drawn on the face of the dark night sky that breathes on his upward gaze. Like looking at a mirror of one own smeared reflection, he muses, head up towards a direction that could only be east, judging by the position of the crescent moon. Home lies there, he whispers.

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