Tag Archives: walk

A Cold Walk at Night

It was late and the main street was silent and empty except for a young man walking with his hands in his pockets. His breath was gray under the yellow streetlights. When the wind rushed down the cross-streets between the red brick buildings the young man’s eyes watered. Rather than wiping away the tears he let them roll down his numb cheeks and freeze as they thinned. The smell of Indian food came with the wind and he breathed deep until his lungs hurt with cold. Then he exhaled and forgot the smell before it made him hungry. The red neon blush of Vinnie’s Pizza was ahead.

Behind, up the hill, the young man could see only the soft glow of town compared to the darkness left and right of it. The moon hovered big and low and shone with a brightness by which he could read the fragile ticking hands on his watch. 3:40 a.m. There was no traffic on the narrow road. The people who drive this road go to Church at 9am or have families to put to bed and spouses to comfort.

Another hour of walking and town was no longer visible. The woods on either side of the young man faded from dark gray dirt to the white moon. The trees in the foreground silhouetted against the gradient looked like massive black stakes thrust into the ground. The young man drew his arms tighter around his core. He flexed every muscle he could still control to ward off the cold, but could not stop shivering. He held his breath then exhaled down the collar of his coat. The warm air comforted him momentarily, but was replaced with dampness. He shuddered.

The young man wanted to walk until he felt nothing, and now he felt nothing but the biting cold. The feeling was not as calming as he had wished it to be. Instead, with town more than an hour behind him he felt everything. The wind blew hard and didn’t let up for several minutes. His teeth were clattering together now. His cheeks felt firm and it hurt to open his eyes.

As dawn approached he crossed the faded double-yellow line on the narrow road and started walking back towards town. Into traffic. There was no traffic at this hour. The people who drive this road are finishing their dreams and snoring.

The low skyline of town came clear in front of the rising sun. Walking uphill was hard on the young man’s knees. He was stiff and tired and didn’t want to walk any longer. Vinnie’s Pizza was dark. The wind had died. The cross-streets were calm. The young man would go straight home now. He wanted to be warm and to sleep until it was dark again.

Walk to School

This is my walk from Xi Jiao Hotel to Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. These videos are about ten minutes each and nothing exciting happens. There is no sound because I was talking throughout and have no idea what I’m saying. I’ll try to fix that sometime. For now, just feast your eyes on lovely Beijing.

Update 2009: Video offline.

Morning Walk

I walk the street each morning to get coffee. Rush hour. People look busy – frantic and frozen. Most travel efficiently, cutting corners and jumping signals when they can. Heads down. Hands tucked. Earphones firmly sunk.They are shutoff to the world around them as if today was nothing more than the indistinguishable middle of an infinite staccato experience. The probability of something extra-ordinary happening is no greater than their chance of winning the lottery, which is clearly stated in the window of the deli down the street as 1 in 172 million.

Bad odds to bet your smile on.

A bell tolls from the horizon. It’s a sound you would pay to hear played in a grand hall by famous musicians. Deep and pure, it resonates as if it were coming from within – but feels more like I am along the inside edge of its hallow drum. The vibrations grab me. Touch the small of my back and run their fingers along my spine until I shudder.

I look around, wondering if anyone else hears it. Nothing. Not a soul so much as flinches.

The hammer strikes the wall again – rings a deep smooth percussion. I shake more. Still, heads down. Eyes glazed. The passing time so meaningless it might as well stop ticking. The bell shakes again.

I’m still this time. I step back a moment. Cautious. Wanting to locate the drum. Others walk through it. No notice. No care. It’s more efficient that way.