5 ‘o’ clock in the early evening is a very good time for a walk, especially in Winter.
Put on your big coat, and a scarf, and a hat. Find your gloves. Pull on your boots.
Put in your headphones, lock the door behind you, and walk.
It doesn’t matter where you live. The aim is to enjoy the cold, and to see the bright moon, and the last glows of daylight disappearing behind the tree-line.
I love it. It’s a great time to be out.
If you’re lucky, people won’t have drawn the curtains yet, and you’ll be able to look into the warm, bright houses. The lit windows are like little jewels in the gathering darkness, and inside, all of human life is being played out in fleeting vignettes.
A woman laying the table for supper, placing one piece of cutlery at a time onto a white tablecloth. A cat, curled on a tattered armchair. A bird in a cage. The blue, flickering light from a TV, and a row of children in front of it. A man in a thick jumper coming into a front room, a mug of tea in each hand.
One house has Christmas decorations already up.
In another, a child in the top window is waving (goodbye? hello?) to an older woman, who is getting into a car on the street as you pass.
Rootle your hands deeper into your pockets – it’s cold today.
One more street? OK, and then I’ll circle back round to the start.
If you’re lucky, your own family won’t have drawn the curtains yet, and you can look in wonder into the cosy warmth as you go up the path, thinking: