Since When? (Written November 17, 2017)
Since when did I come to fear the night?
To watch my back and feel ill at ease?
Since when have I been so out of place
That I no longer could enjoy the night’s breeze?
When was it that the nighttime symphony,
The song of the dark and the stars’ glowing spheres,
Became noises I jump at when I am alone,
My great love become a new fear.
I don’t want to think I’ve outgrown the night,
Don’t want to believe I’ve lost this home, too.
No, this magic I’ll keep, this fear I’ll reject,
I’ll strive to still see this night true.
This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I have always loved the night, and I would roam around in the dark like most people hardly ever do in the light. I love the night. Then, not too long ago, I caught myself glancing over my shoulder while I was on one of my night walks. And that made me really sad.
(SAFETY DISCLAIMER: Now, really, I do understand why people object to these night walks of mine. A young woman, walking alone and unarmed in the middle of the night? Yeah, that sounds dangerous. To be fair, I live in the middle of nowhere, and I’m still very much near enough to houses that any yell would wake the residents, and the many dogs. Also, sounds carry very well in this quiet countryside night, and it is flat as a pancake for as far as the eye can see. There is no way anyone could approach without me knowing well in advance.)
I always have felt safe when I walk through the night, and welcomed. Like Oscar Wilde, I have been one acquainted with the night. But then, last year, when visiting friends, something happened. They were staying in their college dorms, and I didn’t have permission to sleep there, so I was staying a little ways off campus. I’d hang out at the dorms until pretty late, then I’d walk back. I was more than happy with this arrangement, but nobody else was, apparently. The girls got worried about it and told the guys, and they proceeded to remind me of all the various dangers lurking around at night. Eventually, when I ignored them and continued as I had been, I found one of the girls had let one of the guys know when I was leaving to walk back, and he was waiting for me at the street with his car. He snuck out after curfew to drive me back, and I felt so bad about it that I decided I’d not go for night walks, at least while I was visiting them. I figured I was just being considerate of my friends.
Truthfully, though, I think that was my first loss. I think that concession was the pebble down the slippery slope. I may have only admitted to the fears faced at night because I wanted my friends to not worry, but I did admit them. I opened that door. And fear of the dark is one of man’s most universal fears- once that door is opened it is, indeed, hard to shut. So I am battling now, fighting to regain the night that was once mine.
I will not go, gentle, from this good night. I will not give up and sleep, but awaken and fight! This night is mine, and ever it shall be, until whatever day will come when the stars come crashing down from the hands of mighty eternity.
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