It’s not a recent thing. I’ve always had a strange relationship with the night-time.
For a couple of years after that I had to sleep with the landing light on and my bedroom door wide open. I was a wreck. My mother would dutifully stroke my hair till I fell asleep.
Naturally I grew out of it. And instead of being scared of the dark, I became fascinated by it.
People are different after sunset. I’m not talking about vampires or werewolves here, I mean real people. Night owls tend to have different personalities, I think. The people I’ve met seem to have an outward quietness to them, but with hints of hidden secrets, little telltale signs. They won’t, for instance, look you in the eye for long.
Of course, that might not be true at all. I could be transferring my own suspicions onto their innocuous behaviour. It might be a symptom of my own tiredness when I see them. Who can be sure?
Walk around a city at night and there’s less people – far less. It’s like going back in time, before populations exploded. And with darkness limiting the depth of your vision, there’s less to look at, so naturally it makes you ponderous, or jumpy, depending on your disposition.
But, to me, it’s also like a club. When I see other people out walking at night, I almost want to nod at them, to acknowledge fellow membership of the club.
It’s no surprise then that when I studied literature at school one particular poem stood out. It’s Rhapsody on a Windy Night by T. S. Eliot. It really captures both the attraction and suspicion of the night. I’ve recorded it to give me inspiration while writing. I’ve posted it here on the website. So if you’ve never heard, or read, this evocative poem, take a listen.
Goodnight and sweet dreams.