Sunset here in Shere is at 4:07pm. I put Tasha’s special collar on her neck, the one I bought last year with flashing red lights. I put on my teal blue wellington boots, my quilted black jacket, debate the wool scarf. No. Probably not that cold. We set off up the street to Chantry Lane. Wish I’d worn the scarf. Gloves, too. Glad I decided on the boots, though. Leaves are dark and soggy underfoot, and greasy puddles fill the ruts left by tires. There is no wind, so my face is cold, but not freezing. Tasha’s collar flashes red, on and off.. There will be no cars on this lane, but if she runs off, I hope I can spot where she is by the lights.
By the time we reach the ford, we are deep into dusk. It doesn’t matter. There are no street lights, though, and no homes up on the meadow, and if there are no clouds, I’ll be able to see the stars. I forgot to wear my heart monitor and watch to check my heart workout. Oh well. It’s just for fun anyway. This morning we went to the gym, called Aqua Roma, to check the schedule and fees. It is connected to The Manor Hotel, and a restaurant, The Squire. You enter by a long tree-lined drive with lawn stretching away on either side. The hotel is a big Victorian mansion, and the spa/gym is a newer building attached in back.
There are several cars in the drive, but only one person working out in the gym. The gym is tiny compared to the fitness palace in Cary, which is two stories but could be three or four, the ceilings are so high, and which houses countless machines, two work out studios, and offices on the top, and a café, beauty salon and spa, dressing rooms with unlimited towel use, steam room, sauna, huge indoor swimming pool, and a smaller pool with lanes for serious swimmers.
Aqua Roma has a small gym, small dressing rooms, one studio, and an indoor pool, out of use at the moment while being repaired. The monthly fee here is twice what it is in Cary, although they wave the fee for joining, which is about the same as for Lifetime Fitness. But you have to pay 50pence for the use of a towel. There are lots of classes, though, in Pilates, Yoga, Aqua Aerobics, and stretching and toning. I will join, because its primary appeal for me is its proximity.
Walking home in the dark, past these historic old homes and windows with warm yellow light spilling out of them, I think about the people who are still at work. It is only 4:45. School children walk home in the dark, and people who go to work at 9:00 AM will hardly know it is daytime, until the entire cycle reverses and the nights become as short as the days are now. I don’t mind the short days, because I have a cozy fire to sit beside when I go home, and time to do what I like before dinner. I know I am fortunate for these things, and because, unlike many people in this world, I do not have to fear for my life nor where my next meal is coming from. I am grateful.
- THANKSGIVING DAY, November 2007
- Living Without The Light —