Night Writing

The bullfrogs are singing night melodies. The usual panoramic view from my writing porch has devolved into pitch blackness. The rhythms of the day have tucked in their efforts and yielded to the song of the night. Whatever knotty problem or inextricable conundrum that plagued the world of light…has hidden in the shadows. The perplexities of the passions that perpetrate our daytime thoughts have become commingled with our dreams and it becomes increasingly difficult to extricate one from another. Our love for system and order and clear directions on curvy paths mingles with the wind and rain and the dimness of our human sight. We see a specter out of the corner of our eye and wonder if it was a bat or a human or another creature of the night. Being alone in the sunlight is simple enough. You can see your neighbors. Work and play come easily. There is golf and exercise and illuminated plans for the future. The blackness brings the companionship of your thoughts.

Photo by HitchHike on

I worked 20 of my 32 year career at night. I regularly walked the campus of Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale in the dark. In the early days of my sojourn I was accustomed to encountering students jogging…in the middle of the night. It was a health conscious time. I cut through camps woods under the dim lamps or with no light at all. It was common to hear a plethora of unidentified noises just off of the path that I trod. Often I believed that I was the only person around only to come upon another human who emerged from the shadows. In those halcyon days…I had no fear. I enjoyed the quiet and the absence of distraction of the almost empty campus buildings…which are much easier to clean and to inspect for cleanliness. Focus and clear thinking without interruption was a nice benefit of housekeeping work.

Steve and Faye and MJ and I along with our young sons, Aaron and Jonathon, were scheduled to take a vacation to Tennessee early the morning following our last second shift, that ended at 1:00 A:M: Steve and I decided to begin the driving adventure as soon as we could arrive at our homes in Elkville, Illinois. All of us thought that this was a grand idea as there would be less traffic and the children could sleep until the break of day! This was a common occurrence for me as I loved to drive at night.

I vividly recall two profound sensory experiences in Europe that happened under the cover of darkness. We were staying near embassy row in Rome. Each morning of our week long stay I was awakened by the sound of vocal cheerful Romans as they began their work and their day…just under my open hotel window. Although I do not have a command of the Italian language…I knew that Rome was waking up! The other aural night remembrance was when we stayed in Nice, France with our dear friends, Jeff and Margo. Their flat was over a restaurant and very near the Mediterranean Ocean. At about 11:00 P:M: the restarauntures began washing the dishes. It sounded to my ears that they were in the flat with us. The first night of our visit I had retired early due to jet lag and was awakened by the happy banter and the clatter of pots and pans…and I thought I must arise and go help my friends in the kitchen! Each night I looked forward to the unique experience of being so close to the life of a French bistro!

The night holds mystery and half remembered dreams and the balance that brings the next day…


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