FROM OUR ONE-BEDROOM APARTMENT we peer northwest at a sun moving daily southward. Under a rising invisible new moon the lights of Belgrade (Montana) twinkle like Atlantic City seen from the northern end of the Ocean City boardwalk. Layers of cold air settle in from the mountains, no longer held back by the day. The sky goes from blue to orange and green to jet black. Our windows are open and the chill air infiltrates our living room. I feel it flowing over my left elbow but it is deflected somewhat by what is left of this warm late September day.
There is no TV so we have the sounds of traffic on 19th Street. It is too late in the day for the usual sounds of children playing seven stories below us. Sounds of joyful childhood intermingled with the more than the occasional wail of injury or slight. Parents responding not too quickly knowing it is unlikely the damage is life threatening. We sit in our giant lifeguard’s chair and confirm that, indeed, it is a minor scrape or a stolen soccer ball. A few minutes pass and the cheerful sounds resume. But not now as dark collects around us, broken only by the picture windows on our same level here in the sky in our building’s twin a volley ball field away from us.
Now the nightly visit of the train rolls slowly through the north side. Rumbling at my left ear. The cry of the train whistle. Now rumbling at my right ear. It must be traveling at five miles per hour, maybe lingering because it is not eager to leave our mountain oasis. The sad bunnies let the train pass and return to guarding the secure fence that keeps us away.