Are You Afraid Of The Dark....?

Many people are. The reasons are as numerous as the people. However, one thing’s true for us all. Now our days are disappearing into the west more quickly and our nights are invading our lives more insistently. Ready or not, we’re left more with our own thoughts and feelings, hopes and fears. I mean, without the long suns to bathe and distract us, there comes more darkness to envelop and hold us.

OK, the nights have their own distraction too. Theatres, sports bars, Rush Street, State Street, the usual necklace of hot spots we wear around our fears like amulets. Still, it’s harder to escape yourself than when plump juicy summer brimmed over with all that 24/7 festivity. Chicago nights walk down from the sky with the moon in their hand, when even atheists half-believe in God. So nights are not to be taken lightly.

It’s said that character is how we behave when no one’s looking. Nights can be that time. Nights have this way of shutting out many of the sights and sounds of day. In these sunless silences prophets have experienced great truths…. scientists have thought great thoughts…lovers have realized their great loves. True, crime rate spike; but how many of these come largely from angry minds unable to succeed in the light of day? The weak find cover in the night, while the strong use the night to better understand the days.

Here’s a test.

Next night you step out into the great city, take a second look into the faces around you. In the restaurant, the bar, the club, the theatre, the party. What do you find…? Smiles, laughter, slapped backs, elbowed jokes, dirty dancing, furious fun. Now here’s the test. Is the fury of all this fun a matter of embracing the night or hiding from the next day?

It’s not exactly the sort of question you pose to your friends. However, no reason why you can’t pose it to yourself. Well, it’s worth a try. Like the man said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

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  • Thank you for this fine mid-week musing and the associated observations and questions Jack …. "It's said that character is how we behave when no one's looking." ..... Here in a small rural village on the north-western Canadian plains we have a proximity and acquaintance with a 'social pool' and environs that surely makes that question relevant ... so we will “Take the test” posed …

    Though we are few in number where we reside we are by actions of a centuries cooperative conditioning very much familiarly involved with the humanity and mankind we are in contact with … be they blood relations – or not – involved in a way that John Donne would readily understand and approve of … here no man, woman or child is ‘an island’ . Mind you we do not feel as encumbered by social proximity as to not have the freedom to express our individual ideas and live lives that may differ markedly from our neighbours or relatives ....

    Perhaps it is the 'freedom' of the vast wide open spaces here under the expansive skies of the northwest that provides many with the 'elbow room' to be who they are without flinching …. Others may on occasion disagree or despair of individual beliefs & character traits and the occasions for discourse and debate bring sharp focus to many an issue more lofty than the surrounding prairie …. Here we do not ‘hide’ from the questions of the day … though our answers may differ they are still indulged in without fear both night & day ….

    The stars are bright, sharp and visible here on spangled prairie nights and the 'distractions' {restaurant, the bar, the club, the theatre} are blessed few – though at times we do envy you these Mr. Spatafora ... yet to each their own. Sometimes … in the quiet country cloisters of our surroundings … we occasionally receive an inspiration or intuitive flash that helps us understand life to a depth not previously plumbed … {though most often not} …. and for rural folk the shallow insight of many a pompous presumption are an entertainment of itself … Chuckle!

    Thus in answer to the question - "Is the fury of all this fun a matter of embracing the night or hiding from the next day?"

    Here we fear 'neither the dark of night nor the light of day' for being 'alone' is not so much an 'ocular' affected condition/circumstance as it is a state of 'mind and place' ….

    We took note of the Socratic question long ago and have found comfort in daily routines that provide us with the opportunity to ‘take stock’ of our personage … an exercise well worth the effort if it prompts reflection and correction – for we are a very fallible person and ‘spiritual maintenance’ is a guide to good health in all dimensions.

  • Now this is more than simply a reply; it's an exhortation to embrace both the night and the day, both the stranger and the friend, both private introspection as well as public expression. Damn, but you make the wilds of Canada speak to my over-urbanized soul!

  • " my over-urbanized soul" ..... and here I was thinking that my soul was reflecting the "hayseed" within me ... we are brothers of like aspiration in vastly different venues Jack ... Thanks for your daily offerings that prompt this slothful old soul to do some thinking ....

  • Jack is a good friend on Facebook, and I have to say that all his articles are very thought provoking, and entertaining. They are a good reason to open my computer each morning, just to read his latest item.
    Thank you Jack, and keep going.
    Ignore old age, your mind is as clear as ever...even if the rest of you is falling to bits, like mine.

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