Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Over the years, the expression 'we attack at dawn' has puzzled me. I would think it would be more advantageous to attack at say...three-thirty a.m. It seems the enemy would just be settling into their deepest sleep and therefore be their most disoriented when roused by the attackers. Why wait until dawn?
Most warriors or soldiers are at their most alert at dawn. Why would that be the time to attack? Heck, if I was going to attack, I'd do it about two-thirty in the afternoon when the human brain starts shutting down and the body needs a nice nap. Have you ever noticed how we slow down mid-afternoon? By three-thirty, I'm nodding off over the keyboard. Now THAT would be the time to attack.
Ancient instincts lead us to be cautious and wary after dark. We draw the curtains, close the blinds, lock the doors and windows because who knows what lurks in the night? Noises are more ominous in the lonely hours before dawn. Who has not spent at least one night wide-eyed, praying for sunrise?
Why do we sleep at night and not during the day? Oh, I know there are some folks who work the night shift, but the vast majority of our fellow humans don't. Why? It's not as though we don't have the technology to light our way now. I sometimes wonder how we will cope if the time ever comes when our sun is so hot we are compelled to work at night just to survive. How would that change our culture?
Maybe that's why there's such a fascination with vampires. Their lives, limited by their inability to walk in the sun, are exotic and strange. And that confinement to the hours after dark places them squarely in the pantheon of scary bogeymen, monsters who prey on the innocent in the night. They wouldn't be nearly as frightening if they were confined to movement during the day only.
Perhaps the main attraction of dawn is the final banishment of the night. Dawn equals security, the ability to see the dangers around us, the beginning of a new day.
Maybe that's why we attack at dawn.