My love of being outside at night began when my mother decided I was old enough to sit on the front porch on cool summer evenings. I loved watching the street lights sparkling through leaves on the trees and being a part of quiet conversations. So when my brother suggested we see the Christmas lights at the Brookfield Zoo I was eager to go.
I did well while it was still dusk (photo on left). When the sun went down (photo below) I had trouble seeing where vertical was. My stroke hit the pons which is the bridge to the cerebellum where balance is controlled. My cerebellum gets so little information from my inner ears that I need visual input to tell if I am vertical.
As it got darker I started guessing by watching the dark outlines of people walking in front of me. This made me lurch from side to side to correct the poor guesses I made. This rocking motion wore me out and brought my walking to a halt. Walking for years down well lit streets did not prepare me for the balance challenge that real darkness creates.
I am going to restrict myself to night time activities that require sitting --- like watching people skate. I got to see children smile when their parents kept them from falling. I got to watch funny interactions among dating couples who had unequal skating skills. I got to look at Chicago's beautiful Michigan Avenue. I got to breathe the crisp night air and appreciate my warm coat, mittens, and scarf. I got to enjoy a fun evening with my brother. I learned the hard way that walking requires problem solving as well as mobility.