Saturday, May 24, 2008

In the still of the night

Ahhhh. Well maybe not exactly take over the world, but tonight I will be hosting the Anny Cook and Frog Friends chat at Ellora's Cave Yahoo Chat loop from 7 PM - 10 PM EST. We'll have some excerpts. We'll talk, maybe have a contest. Maybe a prize or two. Please join us for some fun and frolic.

Nights are funny aren't they? Have you ever noticed that even though you can shop, eat, do laundry, and almost anything else in the middle of the night, there's still a "hushed" feeling about night. The activity might be the same, but there's still a totally different quality about night time.

The darkness gives a sense of urgency to everything from pumping gas to buying a cup of coffee. There is a visceral feeling of danger, even when we are clearly safe. When I had a dog, I frequently took her out to walk at midnight. Usually, there were more people outside walking around then than there were when we walked during the afternoon. The afternoon was dead. We could have been attacked, robbed, assaulted and chances are no one would have seen a thing. Yet most people were more concerned about me walking the dog at night. "Aren't you scared?" they would ask. I wonder why the absence of light changes our perspective.

Maybe it's an old instinct from ancient times. Don't go out...there are bad things in the dark. Is it a cultural memory of times when things really did go bump in the night? Or is it our intuition telling us there are dangerous critters all around us that we're failing to acknowledge or perceive? In times past, humans weren't so quick to dismiss the idea of angels, demons, werewolves and vampires. They respected the possibilities and took the necessary precautions. Yet in the current age, the only beings that most people will admit that they believe in are angels. Why do you suppose that is?

I think that in the industrial age people feel foolish believing in the creatures of the night so they've substituted an alternate reality. For whatever reason, it's cooler to believe in aliens and UFOs than it is to believe that a vampire might be waiting in the darkness around the corner. I find it interesting that there has been such an upsurge in the paranormal genre. But the thing I find the most telling is how we have changed the creatures of the dark so that they sooth our underlying fears. Now they are the heroes... the alphas that exude sex and protection and ultimately love. They're misunderstood instead of dangerous. Rather than facing the prospect of being torn limb from limb, we have the likely future of unending sexual delights.

Yet, it seems that our instincts are still twanging with alarm. Don't go out in the dark...


Amarinda has gone to the country, Kelly finally has her internet hooked up and James is blogging today at OhGetAGrip. Enjoy!


  1. I grew up in the middle of nowhere and there absolutely were things lurking out in the dark. Now I live in the city. Yes, there are things lurking in my neighborhood here too which I read about in the newspaper far too often. The things now are different and far less frightening because I'm somewhat sure they're human. When I was a kid that was always in question.

  2. Dark covers so much evil. We don't have night vision and we are not as fast to protect ourselves as a result. Predators, whether human or animal employ it to cover their crimes. I suppose we could just as easily say, "don't trust a guy in fatigues" except that those wearing them are generally protectors against the "dark"... a personal night light if you will.

    We huddle around light cause it's the known. We rationalize dark because fear removes our equilibrium putting us in discomfort. If creating tales about baddies restores that equilibrium, then we are returned to a sense of peace. I think what we are seeing is the psychological aftermath of increasing unrest in the state of our world put on the paranormal realm.

  3. I love shopping late late at night, but there's still that feeling of unease in the dark...

    Perhaps it's the new and awful creatures of the night.

  4. I love nighttime. SOmetimes if I can't sleep, I'll head out to the back patio with a bottle of water and just inhale the cool air and watch the shadows. I've never found it scary at all. I'm at my most creative at night for some reason. Maybe it's the stillness. I don't know.

  5. Yeah, I agree with Regina...I also like the sound of a train passing in the distance at night as it's such a lonely, evocative sound