Monday, January 20, 2014

Evening Walk

I've taken, lately, to walking in the evening, ostensibly to meet my wife on her way home from work - which sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. It's just a reason to walk, and I find that I enjoy it.

I start out when it's just getting dark. The day has cooled somewhat and usually a breeze has come up, sneaking across the rice fields, lapping at the house fronts, lazy and contented as a domestic cat. Workers in the new houses that are going up have quit for the day and sit quietly talking and laughing together. They will stay the night in the shells of the houses under construction. One of them calls out as I pass. "Hello, Mister. Hello. Very good, very good." I ask 'what' is very good, but he does not know. He has exhausted his knowledge of English and seems quite happy.

Another man passes by on the road. He raises his hand, his face bursting open in a toothy smile. "Jalan-jalan," he said. Walking. Yes, we are.

Various dogs patrol in front of their various houses; thick, furry dogs, scrawny dogs, dogs the color of cinnamon or coal or rice or wheat, or all mixed together like unstirred flour and spices. Some are in better moods than others. Some want to walk up and meet you. Others appear somewhat liable to bite you.

In the field, people are harvesting the rice, men, women and children. There's a woman wearing clothes like a scarecrow's, a conical hat on her head, and as she cuts the tops from the long stalks of rice, storms of birds swoop and tremble in circles around her without attracting the least portion of the woman's attention. And, yet, they've gotten mine.

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