A casual walk along a familiar trail takes an unexpected turn

It’s a mild winter’s day and the sun visits only sparingly. A light wind attends. Birds chatter excitedly from tree to tree, discussing the events of the day and the weather, tweeting about the sprinkling of the misty rain. Naked trees hang limply, suspending raindrops from their branches, creating crystal-like figures. In the distance a train bleats, and the siren of an ambulance responds. They must be making their way to one of the nearby hospitals.

Always some drama on Sundays, it is as if folks wait for the weekend to get wild and die. I remember all too well my Sundays that were filled with the 101 ways to die in this neighbourhood – some that had suffered split skulls; being run over by cars; and a bullet through the throat. I don’t miss it! Life is so much better on the other side of town.

Wright’s Park, I had good times in this place last summer, and I’m curious to explore it again, but where did I take a wrong turn? I see the derelicts still roam, and the occasional runner still skirts the peripheries – smart! I’ve seen many a stupid one caught here in the dark – a waste of a good life.

Ah, there’s the pond, and the ducks and mallards grooming themselves after their afternoon bath. They regard me in their usual disinterested manner, as I am not the supplier of food. Yes, it is all so familiar, but where the hell am I? And why does it seem further than I remember?

On its wings, the wind brings voices from a distance, amiable morning chatter – the sweet chirps of birds, mimicking and perfecting each other’s sounds, like the tuning of a guitar. And somewhere close behind me, a gathering of ducks approaches. I can hear them although I cannot see them.

Above, a blanket of sodden clouds enshrouds the earth. Swollen and sullen like a petulant child, it sits waiting, anxious to unload its weight of moisture and dust particles. A few sprinkles touch my spine, and I shiver from their icy touch.

Rain! That would not bode well for me. Rats! Why was I born so small, with such short legs? Why could I not be blessed with wings?

The air is moist, and the gathering darkness signals the wetness that lies ahead. The trees rustle anxiously, aware of this ominous message brought to them by the wind. From behind a sombre cloud that hangs low with great impatience, the sun peeks out to observe the events; it demurs with a soft, gleaming smile, brightening the majestic mountains from whose distant edges it hangs. Clang! The belfry explodes loudly, and dispels nature’s enchantment. It warns that dusk approaches, I must be moving on. I must get to the end of the park before dusk, or I will never find my way back. Oh, the perils of a poor rabbit with limited night vision! Yikes! The cats are out! Hurry! I must hurry!