Tossing and turning. It was just past the witching hour. Insomnia had come to visit.
Seeing that finding sleep was a losing battle I got up and decided to go for a walk through the night streets of Groveport.
It was cold and damp, but not that unpleasant when walking. The wet blacktop of the street was shiny and glistening, defying its industrial look and purpose and appearing almost pretty in the streetlights’ glow. The only sounds are that of my feet scuffing on the sidewalk and the wind shuffling stray leaves like so much waste paper.
Cats rule the streets and yards at night. There are many of them in view as I wander down the streets of town. Some are feral who live out their lives in the elements, while others are domesticated and are just out for a nightly lark of wildness. Some of the cats are furtive, eyeing me warily, wondering what I’m doing out here on their darkened turf. Some are friendly, coming up to me with a "hello" meow. Others are openly defiant, standing their ground or sitting with a disdainful glare as I pass them by. I look at their cat visages and realize that cats, unlike dogs, never have a sad expression on their furry faces. Their look is all their own.
I walk down Main Street, which is brightly lit up with streetlights, so much so that its straight path almost seems like an airplane runway. No traffic anywhere, except in the distance I can see a lone police cruiser making its rounds through the quiet neighborhoods. It made me wonder what the officer sees as he or she patrols and what they think about the sleeping town.
I peer down the alleys and side streets as I cross intersections. Shadows prevail there as the streetlights are more spaced out. No one is stirring, except for the raccoon I see checking out a trash can.
So quiet. I keep walking and end up in front of Groveport Town Hall. I sit on a bench and look up. The traffic light doesn’t blink as there are no cars to trip the cycle. The red light stares off unendingly to the north and south while the green glows east and west tirelessly.
Too cold to just sit there. I cross the street and start heading back home. I’ve walked these streets for more than 50 years. A lot has changed. A lot is the same.
The big trees that once canopied Main Street are a memory.
Also gone are the old dirt side paths kids made where the sidewalks met the streets. The paths were worn down with years of bicycling kids trying to avoid the bounce of the curb.
The old carry-out where we bought sodas and Hostess fruit pies as kids is no more, though the building still stands as home to another business.
But much is the same. The churches hold their place solidly on the street. The homes are familiar. The schools and Town Hall anchor the street.
A deep breath. Tiredness starts to creep in. The walk has done its job and sent insomnia looking for a new host. I walk the last few blocks toward home and clomp up my front steps. I turn and face the street one more time before retiring.
It’s all so beautiful.
Rick Palsgrove is editor of the Southeast Messenger.