January 29th, 2004

caillebotte_man at his window

Footsteps

Very late, by only the dim light of winter stars now released from all traces of cloud, I walked out the driveway. I've always liked the sound of my footsteps on pavement in the quiet hours of night. First, the soft click of the heel, followed by the softer thud of the sole, accompanied by the slight crunch of grit and, sometimes, the slightly louder crunch of a pine needle; it is a bit like listening to the radio programs I remember, where everything was conveyed by sound. A quiet night is nature's foley artist, generating an atmosphere by which imagination can be stimulated. It must have been those nights listening to the radio that aroused in me this particular love of sounds in darkness, but there was always something else -- some predisposition in myself to enjoy such things.

The usual intended effect of footsteps in radio was to create dramatic tension or comic anticipation. I suppose that most listeners responded in the expected way, and then forgot about it. For me, the immediate experience of those footsteps on some imaginary path or street, or the floors of some imaginary house or deserted office building or hotel corridor, would linger in memory and take root in my dreams and waking fantasies, leading me through places the writers had never discovered. Sometimes frightening, or at least anxiety inducing, and sometimes filled with some undefined promise of wonders to be revealed, the sound of footsteps, which outside the radio programs I always heard as my own, became a dominant theme in the creations of my imagination.

As I grew older, and less inclined to dwell in fantasy, the sound grew less important to me, as though the footsteps, no longer my own, were passing away from me, diminishing in the distance, falling into silence. But some memory of them remains with me even now, so that when I hear myself walking I sometimes recognize the sound, and my present self merges with my younger self, and we walk together for a while, blending reality with the mystery of imagination.
caillebotte_the orangerie

Enlightenment for All

Whoa! Time sure flies when you're reading an LJ Status Report. Especially when it contains a link to a post answering questions raised by the recent State of the Goat post. Changes in store.

As for real life (yeah, I'm still pretending that LJ isn't my real life now) I got some actual sunshine today. It was out for several hours, and I was out in it for, oh, minutes! I hope I don't burn!

Now, off for the boring round of evening tasks.