I suffer from insomnia. While it comes and goes, it's been a part of my life since the day I was born. And I don't mean that in any form of hyperbole - I was born at 4 am, and was more of less nocturnal for the first week of my life. And insomnia has followed me since then.
About a week ago, I was lying in bed, tossing and turning. Even though I had the heat turned off and a window open, I was sweating for some reason - yes, I know, it's November in Canada, but I was hot. It was about two in the morning, and I'd been in bed for about an hour and half, with no luck getting to sleep.
Finally, I just said "to hell with it" and decided I'd take a walk. It really does help put me to sleep sometime. I figured I'd walk down to the Selkirk Waterway, maybe cross the trestle, and then come back home and go to bed.
When I made it to the waterway, it was dark, with the only illumination coming from distant city lights being reflected off obdisian black water. I felt eyes watching me, and had this strange sense of unease. I had been on the waterway at night before, so I had no idea why I was so bothered. Hell, only a few months earlier, I took a girlfriend right down to the waterline to show her the distant parliament buildings - one of the most romantic views in this entire city.
I come down here all the time, watching majestic herons feed in the water, or seal pups frolic at the shore's edge.
In short, the waterway is a place I associate with calmness, relaxation, and solitude. Not quiet unease. But that was how I felt.
I began to think about the homeless, and how it was a possibility that, due to the crappy winter weather, it was possible some homeless people were using the area as a camping site. When I saw an abandoned shopping cart, despite the fact that there are no grocery stores anywhere nearby, I began to really believe in this theory.
I made my way to the trestle, and started walking anxiously.
And then something hit me on the back.
It wasn't hard - it felt like someone threw a stick at me that barely bounced off my back. But I was already a bit anxious, and spun around, ready to fight. My fists were in the air, as I stared at road around me. Waiting for my assailant to materialize.
And then something moved in the bush. I spun to face the bush... and saw a heron, flying away. And that's when I realized:
I had just been kicked by a heron.