Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Dark Side

Traditionally, humans seek out light. There's an element of evil and danger associated with the dark. From the beginning the tribe gathered around the fire in an effort to keep away the things lurking in the shadows.

Bad things happen at night...in the dark...in the shadows.

We never stop to consider just as many bad things happen during the day, in the sunlight. Evil is evil whenever it comes calling. Personally, I think we're taken unawares more often during the day than at night because we don't expect it, feeling safe simply because it's light.

I like the dark. One of the things I miss about having a dog to walk (one of the very few things!) is the nights I would roam in the shadows, listening to the insects singing, picking out the few constellations I can readily identify. I miss  welcoming Orion in the winter. I miss the fireflies in the summer. Oh, I could go outside without the excuse of walking the dog, but it wouldn't be the same.

It's not a cultural norm. People outside after dark are perceived in a different way. That's that heightened awareness thing. If we see someone standing around in the night, mooning at the stars, we suspect they're up to no good. We're wary--and for the most part that's probably safer--especially in urban environments.

I've done my share of camping, looking at the star-filled sky when there's no ambient light to block out the Milky Way. You have to be pretty far from civilization to do that. Even in the country, folks have security lights on poles in their driveways...to keep away the evil in the darkness.

I remember trotting at my father's side as we walked down an abandoned track in the hills behind the house where we lived in a tiny Arizona town, listening to the creak of cactus and tumbleweeds in the wind, catching the rustle of nocturnal animals scurrying across the sand, pausing to stand in awe at the glorious light show in the heavens.

Good memories, in the dark.



  1. Hiking at night is a completely different experience. A whole new world comes awake at night.

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