I feel like it has been forever since I’ve had time to do any writing just for me. In the past month I took one child off to college and dealt – via phone and text messages – with all her adjustment woes, began a new semester in my job at the local university, and began my own fall course in the road to my own degree. While it has only been five short weeks, it feels as if it has been an eternity. Of course, during that time I also dealt breast cancer scares for a good friend and for my sister, the loss of the air conditioning unit at my home, a strange problem with my car threatening to run hot for no apparent reason, and an odd little pain in my wrist that wakes me up in the middle of the night. I guess that leads to full days that might give the impression that more time has gone by than in actuality.
With my air conditioner defunct, I have been enjoying the night – and the dark. I have opened all the windows and doors to allow in the evening coolness and the night breezes. The crickets are singing me to sleep at night and my kittens are enjoying lying in the windows sills to get a closer look at the birds and squirrels. I have a few fans running throughout the house and, for the most part, it remains bearable. Thunderstorms have been prominent over the past week, so in the evening, before the sun would normally withdraw its light from my humble abode, the coolness of dark descends. Sometimes I will simply sit in the dark to watch television; sometimes I light a candle and listen to the crickets and birds; sometimes I turn on the smallest of lamps by which to read. I know that the heat generated by a light bulb won’t change the temperature in the house, but the truth is, I enjoy the dark.
Darkness is soothing and peaceful. You know how people instinctively scream when the lights go out? Well, I laugh. For as long as I can remember, I have able to find my way through the darkness as easily as I can navigate in the light of day. I am comfortable with night noises and with night creatures. Several of my kittens are nocturnal and I can understand their joy when night descends and they are ready to play. After a long, hard day at work, darkness relaxes my body and mind. A walk in the dark can be exciting. Quiet footfalls, carefully placed, can allow you to see much that you will never see in the light of day. An owl with his midnight dinner; a raccoon scavenging for food; glow worms on the bank of a quiet river.
Who knew the loss of an air conditioner was going to bring me such communion with the darkness?