It's May, it's a lovely Saturday evening. Go out for a walk in the neighborhood, and let your imagination roam. Look for some of the dark and mysterious landmarks around where you are.
Walk by that small apartment building that's been condemned and has been standing empty for months. An recycling container stands empty on the porch. A doormat, now thick with pollen, is draped over a railing, abandoned. The bushes are growing high against one of the windows, where the blinds hang in a tangle.
The old house on the corner has that odd pool and bench in the garden, overhung by pine trees, so it's always shady and slightly dank there. The bench is a perfect spot for whispered conversations, and dead leaves and pine needles float in the pool. Some of the bricks appear loose.
The gnarled tree in the vacant lot is fascinating in its form, the forms dark and shadowy. The kind of tree you'd love to play under as a child, the branches easy to climb, and inspiring so many games and stories. It's the sort of tree that almost requires a ghost story to be written about it.
These old steps are weathered and worn, decades old. They go nowhere; at the top is a blank fence. No gate, no path. Its own tiny side street, just a few steps, but having a dead end.
The old-fashioned streetlight stands midway across the bridge, half-shaded by leaves, gleaming in the early evening light.
The huge tree by the entrance to the park already has ivy climbing up it, in the most picturesque way. In a few more years it'll be covered in it. One can imagine the hidden nooks, perfect for hiding messages or surprises. Or for something to lurk inside.
Of course, we find the sight of an overgrown garden very fascinating, and inspiring.
And calling us all the way is the mere phantom of an old light in someone's yard, with vines tangled all through. But it still lights the way for all of a certain sensibility, those able to see and appreciate life's shadows.
Of course, there's always other features of a good walk. Window-shopping at the antique store. Dinner at the local diner, followed by a cone from the neighboring ice cream shop. Picking up a local weekly paper, browsing at the video store. Wondering about the lighted windows as you near home, wondering what people's stories are. We create stories in our minds, inventing schemes, murders, hauntings, and other such fun. At long last, we wend our way home, to the comfort of our favorite chair, surrounded reassuringly by our books and various collections.
A good walk is not mere exercise for the body, but a great chance for the mind to wander and absorb inspiration from all around. Take a book and sit under a tree or on an available bench. Absorb the sounds around you, or cover the sounds of traffic with an MP3 player. Throw a bottle of water, a notebook, and a pen in a backpack and let your muse inspire you. A dark, shadowy muse, to be sure.