Thursday, January 29, 2015
I love the sounds of night. Whether I’m sleeping in the house or outside enjoying the settling of darkness on the world, I love the sounds that accompany the activity of darkness. Trains blow their whistles around the clock, but the mystery and sadness only comes with darkness. The rattle of the wheels plunging down the tracks is like a deep drum beat accompanying the song of the whistle.
I love to hear the soft calls of the owls and doves cushioning the night. No chirping songs pierce the gloom, only cooing to signal a mate. Sometimes the birds rustle the leaves or cause a branch to sway. They do not disturb the promised rest and quiet.
Dogs bark. When I was little I wondered what they were saying. Bragging about chasing away a possum or skunk, maybe, or asking if a friend wanted to take a run in the pasture. They alert to every sound, ready to defend their territory, protect their home.
Some trick of physics causes sounds to change with darkness. They become more distinct over longer distances, maybe because there are fewer of them. Trucks on the highway shift gears and gain speed as they leave congested streets. Their engines grab the night and soar off to other towns to deliver their load.
When I was little, the night was filled with giants and monsters, galloping steeds and gallant warriors. Somewhere in the madness there was also sleep and dreams and rest. Now I remember my childhood nights and dreams with nostalgia. I love to revisit them in memory. Then I was always safe from the threats I imagined. Not even a storm disturbed my sleep.