The Landscape looks mostly brown and grey, but there are bits of colour here and there. The dogwood is bright red and there’s a bit of blue in the sky that’s reflected in the water and some of the grass is still green, but overall the landscape is hibernating and gone fallow. This is the dread time of year for me. There’s so little light and the days end so quickly. This photo was taken around 3:30 in the afternoon and by 4:30 it had gone full dark.
Jack’s after supper walk is now always in the dark and I have to push myself to get out. I don’t mind the cold. I can dress for that, but I do mind the dark. Generally, I feel safe walking with Jack. From a distance, he can look intimidating and he’ll bark his big boy bark if he’s feeling nervous or uncertain. He’s also very protective of me. Overall I feel fairly safe in my neighbourhood, but things have happened here just like they happen everywhere. In 2009 an 8-year-old girl was abducted while walking home from school. Her name was Tori Stafford and her home was just a few houses down my street. She was raped, tortured and murdered. I try not to think about that sort of thing when I walk, but I go past that house nearly every day and it’s hard to forget. I know I’m not a kid, but I’m small, and I couldn’t protect myself well and sometimes I get nervous. Jack picks up on that and it makes him nervous for no reason so I work to stay calm and to keep my leash skills confident. I feel it most often when a young man is approaching me on the sidewalk. Often, I’ll simply cross the street, but there are places where I don’t like to do that because of other dogs. Once, I was walking Jack at night and a car stopped beside us. I watched a young man in the back seat kick the female driver in the head and then he exited the car, hurling expletives and he then approached Jack and me, muttering about the “bitch” that was driving. I couldn’t walk past him and I didn’t want to turn my back on him, but then another fellow got out of the car and apologized to me and led the angry man away. He obviously saw I was frightened and came to help. Jack didn’t do anything except wag his tail at the angry man – maybe he was trying to defuse the situation, but I was really scared that night. It’s another month before the shortest day of the year arrives and then I can slowly see the days get longer. Until then, Jack and I will carry on bravely through the night.