When I left work today around ten after 5, the early evening bestowed two wonderful gifts on me: daylight and mild weather.

I work in a cubicle and rarely catch a glimpse of the outside world. For the past few months I’ve gotten used to popping my head up over my cube wall at 5 o’something and seeing nothing but black on the other side of the window.

Today there was still orange in the sky, and it was mild enough that I decided to take a 3-mile stroll around the 55+ housing development across the street from my office. I have taken post-work walks there during colder/darker times, but let me tell you, you are way less threatening walking around a senior housing development in a lightweight jacket and khakis in daylight than walking around the same development at the same time in a knee-length thick winter coat, hat, mouth-and-nose-masking scarf, and, oh, it’s pitch black out.

During the former scenario, I’m a healthy gal who likes to stretch her legs after a long day at the office; in the latter scenario, I’m a creepy darkly dressed voyeur staking out people’s homes. It was nice for once to walk around the complex after work and not have every motion sensor light flood me in white and to innocently glance at people’s houses without Lou and Edna thinking I’m peeping in their windows to see what kind of valuables they own.

The semi-lit evening got me really excited because it means eventually I’ll be able to return to Red Bank Battlefield Park for post-work walks. The park is an official national park and has strict hours–open at dawn, close at dusk, locked gates and everything. Because of the early sunsets, I haven’t been to the park in forever, and I look forward to once again visiting my planes, deer, and red-tailed hawks.

As thankful as I am for today’s springlike weather, I know we still have a long way to go before I permanently trade my Land’s End sleeping bag coat for a hoodie. I mean, (as I write this) it’s technically not even February yet! I give you Exhibit A, a blog post I had written last year on February 22:

Winter made me cry this morning. Partially due to PMS but mostly just plain ol’ hating the cold, I broke out in tears at approximately 8 a.m. as I was attempting to clean the snow off my car. Just 4 days ago we were basking in 70-degree sunlight, and now I was standing in my driveway, fingers going painfully numb, trying to clear 4 inches of snow off my Ford Focus. I accidentally closed my car door on my ice scraper, it snapped apart, and then I snapped along with it. Bryan finished the job as I wimpered inside, hands jammed under my armpits in an attempt to regain feeling.

Bottom line: Enjoy it while it lasts!!