The river is completely dark. A solitary vessel is glowing like a diamond-studded jewel on the inky black surface. The roar of the helicopters that criss-cross the sky all day is finally gone. The voices of the people who pass by speaking a dozen languages about office affairs by my window in the afternoons and evenings are all silent.
Even the gulls are gone.
A solitary lamp glows on my nightstand providing just enough light to illuminate my keyboard rather insufficiently. When I look outside the window I see circles of light on the concrete right below the street lamps in a straight line all along the river.
There is no one there. Yet I don’t feel alone.
A diffused light illuminates a small patch from a neighbour’s window.
Someone is awake.
I love the night. I love the night in the city.
I love it when a place so full of life and people and dogs and loud voices and music and the light rail bells and the boat horns and the generators grows so quiet.
Yet, I always know that there are people around. They’re not gone.
They’re all going to come back the next day.
I know that there are those who love the night in the midst of nature. They love the looming dark shapes of the mountains or the clear starry skies in quiet meadows in the middle of the night.
I used to live in one such place close to the Sierras surrounded by meadows and gardens and trees. They even had a light ordinance there so people could watch the stars on clear days.
But the dark shapes of the trees and the openness of the meadows on moonless nights made me feel strange, as though someone was watching me.
I like nature but I guess I’m not a nature person especially at night.
When everything is quiet and all mundane work is done I treasure the night.
I feel like there’s still a slice of the day left which I managed to save up. Time seems more concentrated, feelings seem heightened, ideas flow more freely for me at night.
Some people tell me the same happens to them at dawn. But the few dawns I’ve seen in my life have not worked for me. The rosy hue at dawn makes me think of it as a sickly pallor that falls over the pure darkness of the night at daybreak. There is no peace of mind for me at dawn. The imminent day intrudes over the early hours taking away the isolated mental state so necessary for nurturing thought.
I never got the beauty of dawn much. But when we had to read “She walks in beauty like the night . . . ” in school, I completely knew what kind of beauty the poet was trying to picture for us.
Yet, night has not always been about peace and quiet and ideas.
Night has also been about not doing what you are supposed to do–sleep. It’s been about breaking rules, about not conforming, about not doing the expected. It’s been about a 2 am impulsive walk to a diner at night in college days throwing plans to the wind. Or driving to see the alligators under a clear sky at night. Or frying an omlette with a roommate at 3 am under the disapproving gaze of a rule abiding third roommate. Or about exchanging emails with an equally night-owlish professor at 1 am. It’s been about staying up nights with cups of tea with friends, just talking.
If I were a flower, I’d bloom at night.
The night. It’s certainly my time.
©bottledworder, 2013. https://bottledworder.wordpress.com
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