Night Crossing

Twilight tonight was quiet and misty, perfect for a twenty-minute walk from my office downtown up to my house. Most nights I’m too tired to walk, preferring to sink into a seat on the bus, but sometimes it just feels necessary, almost cathartic. Somewhere after Massachusetts Avenue the streets narrow, the enveloping tree canopy always encouraging me to shake off the workday and clear my mind of petty stress.

At the end of the walk tonight as I turned onto my block, I heard the gentle clip-clop of a horse’s hooves. It could almost be 1890. Wait, Halloween was weeks ago – what, am I so exhausted that I’m hearing phantom horses now?

No, just an officer of the House-mounted unit of the US Park Police, guiding a superbly beautiful chestnut down my street. Though I’m close to Logan Circle, it’s a rare sight to have a horse actually in front of my house. The pair seemed so confident and steady, the horse’s coat gleaming in the light of the streetlamp. I stopped on my porch and watched them pass by, horse and rider, as the sound echoed tranquilly through the night.

3 Comments so far

  1. Mike (unregistered) on November 14th, 2006 @ 8:45 am

    I thought I heard a horse on the sidewalk last night. I turned around to see two women wearing big clunky shoes with loud heels.

  2. Doug (unregistered) on November 14th, 2006 @ 6:23 pm

    If you only had gas lamps ala Georgetown…

    Reminds me of another story–years ago I was walking home in another city, it was 4am or thereabouts, and this was also an urban setting. I heard hooves and thought, WTF? I turned around and watched as a deer went running down the middle of the street. It was dead still, no one around. I still have dreams about that sometimes.

  3. Mik (unregistered) on November 15th, 2006 @ 7:55 am

    Would those dreams actually be nightmares Doug?

    Jenn, your story reminds me of this quaint little village outside of my home town in England called Geddington. The best part about the village is the bridge and what’s known as the duck ford across the River Ise as you come into the village. I’m not sure if you can still drive through the ford but it always ellicited a giggle from me; seeing the ducks scatter as the car would whoosh through the water.

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