Down the middle of the road, my husband John and I go for long walks each night. Willow Glen is a pleasant old neighborhood of San Jose, California, with wide streets and many big trees. Probably for reasons of economy, street lights are only at the intersections. To reduce the light pollution for the Lick Observatory on nearby Mount Hamilton, San Jose’s street lights are yellow (rather than white). As you can see in the photo above (taken about 7 pm tonight), all of this means that our streets are very dark at night. If you add in residential driveway dips and the haphazard condition of the pavements in our area (see photos below), walking down the middle of the road is less dangerous than keeping to the dark and broken sidewalks. In the evening roadway, we can see lights of the cars heading our way.
There is a friendly community of night time dog walkers and couples like ourselves who work during daylight hours. We know which pairs of little yippy dogs are friendly, and to keep to the other side when Monster the excitable husky is dragging his human around. We keep an eye open for the couple trailed by a bobbing light – the cat who follows their evening walk. John and I sometimes see our wilder neighbors – the raccoons and opossums who come out of the storm drains to hunt and explore in the dark. Even on a blustery rainy night, Willow Glen is a charming place to walk in the middle of the road.
Images Copyright 2012 by Katy Dickinson