Recently, the country has been blessed with glorious hot days. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to relax outside, and take quiet walks in the countryside near to where I live. People seem to have an extra spring in their steps, taking in the rays. The world is buzzing with life. Wildflowers have started to give off their seeds, sending fluffy whips into the breezes, their remaining petals catching the attention of sun drunk bees, gorging themselves on the remaining nectar before humming onto the next. Children, delighted to be unbound from their education for a spell, laugh excitedly in the streets, riding their bikes up and down, or setting up tea parties on their front lawns.
Everyone is always overjoyed to have spectacular sunny afternoons to fill with fun and activities, like painting the house, or visiting the beach. However, while these ideas do perk my enthusiasm, I have another favourate time of day, which I think gets over looked and forgotten by most. Ever since I was a teenager, I have always had a soft spot for summer nights. Beautiful, tranquil, clear, summer nights, which enfold the sky in calm darkness and still the clamor of the daytime.
Staying out as the sun fades, late evening at this time of year, you can watch a bright blue ceiling transform with fiery hues of a summer sunset, and eventually they are tamed by the comforting, quiet purples of night. Gradually, the blanket of darkness descends upon the world, leaving only spots of shimmering stars to peek through. Birds silence themselves in the simple majesty of night; their place is in the morning and in the day and in the brightness. Night is for the gentle hum of the cricket, lamenting to lovers in the grass, and the rustle of leaves to nighttime winds rolling from the sea. The world softens after the joyous chaos of long, hazy, sun drunk days. People rest and are still.
Ever since I can remember I have remained awake late into the night time. I sit with the bedroom window open, sitting on the cil, or with my feet resting on the ledge, savouring the sensation of cool zephyrs between my warm toes. Outside the star lit sky would catch my imagination. Once as a young child, when I couldn’t sleep one night, I gazed at those tiny dots and reasoned they were punctures, like pin pricks in a blanket, behind which shone the glory of another world, perhaps heaven. I wondered if I was watched by angels or gods from the spaces where earth touched the sky. Even now, knowing the truth of their existence, I am still in awe. Each dot another star, fathomless in number, immeasurable in quantity, spectacular in size, shimmering through endless miles of space to reach us through the boundary of time and distance. Amazing. The wonder of all the universe, of creation, shining each evening above us.
And below, in the city, sweeping hills of street lights stringing the roads together like pearls, illuminated windows, representing quiet lives in hidden rooms. The air filled with the breaths of those who are sleeping, resting away the toils and problems of the daylight. Hearts repaired by sacred dreams, their mind their own for just a time, and the promise of the morning on its way. Night doesn’t expect from them what the day does. Time is being allowed to slowly but carefully heal wounds. Lovers are curled up together, under open windows to stave off the heat. Children surrender to the comfort of their pillows, caressing their delicate heads, bringing them into the safe folds of inner play, where rules ruin no dream, where danger threatens no happiness.
My imagine was always sparked by the graces of night’s quiet hand. I would find it easier to gather my thoughts, lay my emotions bare. In the day I had to hide behind a brave expression, fight on, but night is for the relief of crying, of pushing fears into contemplative prayer, and hoping for a better tomorrow. Night has always been gentle and kind to me. She is a majestic friend. The universe would speak during the tranquil warmth of summer nights, when it could better be heard to pining ears. Night was for reading and writing and expression, without disturbance from the unrelenting chatter of daylight. At night we learn how simple it is to be alone with ourselves, in the solitude of who we are; we can learn to love ourselves.
Summer days are great. They are filled with fun and business, time for friends and family, smiles and laughter, the sight of leafy trees and the smell of nearby BBQs. But the night, the night is precious. We can sleep with the air on our faces, and stand outside under the stars, and just be, and just feel, and whisper at the stars.