N is for…
It just seems to follow naturally after Moon, doesn’t it?
I have always been a night owl. I would much rather stay up until the wee hours then sleep until noon or so. On an average day, I might start to feel sleepy about 9 or 10 pm, but if I stay up past that I get a second wind. Not a bad thing when I can sleep in or nap the next day — not so good when it’s an early rise and a day full of activities facing me. And unfortunately, most businesses are open during the day, not the night, requiring at least some daytime wakefulness and activity.
As a child, we lived in the same town as my grandparents and they had a ranch a few miles outside the city limits. We spent many nights on the ranch and with so little man-made lighting, the expanse of stars and the view of the Milky Way were impressive. And certainly made an impression on me. It’s where and when I started learning the constellations.
Over the years since then I’ve lived in towns, big cities, out in the country, and I always look at the night sky.
But it’s not just the night sky. It’s the changes in vision and sounds that happen when the Sun goes down. Colors are no longer apparent, everything appears mostly in shades of grey. The man-made sounds — vehicles, voices — fade away, as do many bird and animal sounds. To be replaced with other animals and insects that you don’t hear or notice during the day. Cicadas, owls, bats, foxes, some frogs. Fireflies. And without the cover of man-made sounds, the rustles and crunches in bushes and trees are more obvious.
I see well outside at night. I was told years ago that I have larger than normal pupils, allowing more light in — nice at night, not so good with sun and bright lights. In high school I was a camp counselor. We camped out in the woods, with areas connected by narrow paths, not paved or edged or anything like that. I don’t remember why, nothing hinky, but a friend and I were making our way back to the counselor camp and he couldn’t tell which way to go. All I had to do was look down and I was able to clearly see the path. I was surprised he couldn’t see it, while he was surprised I could.
Night is not silent or necessarily peaceful, but I find it moreso than day. I prefer the cool shadows of the night to the harsh light of day.
Let me just end with the words of “Late Lament” by Graeme Edge and a 2 videos of “Nights in White Satin”, one with the lament, one without.
Breathe deep the gathering gloom
Watch lights fade from every room
Bedsitter people look back and lament
Another day’s useless energy spent
Impassioned lovers wrestle as one
Lonely man cries for love and has none
New mother picks up and suckles her son
Senior citizens wish they were young
Cold hearted orb that rules the night
Removes the colors from our sight
Red is grey and yellow white
But we decide which is right
And which is an illusion