The Light Keepers

9:23 pm. Tuesday night. Before the storm.
The streets are dark. Clear. No traffic.
Silence is disturbed only by an occasional dog barking at a stranger on her bike.

I spy Orion.
Regal. Radiant. Reliable.
Three dots for a belt.
The entire sky is full of stars tonight but I hone in immediately on him. As a child he was the only constellation I could ever pick out. My penchant for “forgetting” my thick-framed 1980s grey plastic old lady glasses Mama picked out at the eye doctor may be to blame. The world surrounding me before LASIK was often blurred by the severe astigmatism I was born with.

A friendly constant for decades now, Orion winks down at me. I salute him, and almost crash. (Did I ever mention I’m not sporty?)
These late evening starry bike rides through the Avenues are calming. Invigorating. Mature azaleas, crepe myrtle, palmetto, oak and pine thrive in this mid-century neighborhood landscape known for its gridded alphabetical and numerical streets. Such intentional beauty designed by generations long ago! And the southern Spring season (save for an occasional two hour snowstorm and random tornado) makes for perfect bike riding weather.

The GPS app yells out that my average speed is only six miles per hour. I tell her to hush. It’s ok. Marathons aren’t my goal. This two mile slow route offers time to think. And as long as I keep both hands wrapped tightly around the handlebars my clumsy self can think just fine!

The houses with lamps lighting the windows fascinate me. So much so that I almost crash again as my eyes drift side to side, away from the road ahead of me. Each of these homes hold a story. A life. Multiple lives. Rich, intricate woven tales as complicated and in-depth as the one I live. The one you live. Full of passion, regret, hope, and plans for tomorrow night’s dinner. A mere thirty feet away.

Yet we may never cross paths… the unseen keepers of the window light and I.

Perhaps one day we will.

But for now I have to get back to my own lighted window. And the people inside.

Author: Lisa Cole

Lisa Cole is a freelance writer and social media specialist skilled in non-profit marketing and grass roots advertising. This mother of four weaves humor, emotion and depth into stories about parenthood and life in the American South.