Nighttime Neighborhood Listen

I am taking care of my neighbor’s outside cat and every night around 8 o’clock I sit on the porch with her while she has a bedtime snack and headbutts me for loving.

I have lived in this place for over 25 years but never sit out front at night. It has been interesting to learn the patterns of the streets surrounding us in the dark: the steady buzz of traffic from our cross streets, the occasional shout from a nearby bar, both experienced on Friday, followed 48 hours later by the quiet stillness of Sunday. The man two houses down who comes home every evening 15 minutes after the hour. What it sounds like from the outside as my husband closes our windows. The varying temperatures after the sun goes down as summer gives way to fall. The amount of dog walkers is surprising to me, as is the number of mosquitos.

Last Sunday I listened to parents pick up their two small children who, I learned, had had tomato soup for dinner while staying with their grandparents overnight. As the young family drove off, a little girl’s voice repeated over and over, “Bye, Grammy! Bye, Grandpop!”, until she could no longer be heard.

I am enjoying every minute out there each evening and feel the fool for missing out all these years. I encourage you to try it. You will find, as I did, that day noises are new and different in the dark. But you know what? They still sound like home.


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