On Walking Alone at Night

night walking first and best attempt

The walker always finds solitude, but most especially at night. There is something about walking alone at night. I love it. When you walk at night, you are cocooned in silence. You can be alone, anonymous.

At night, people can’t see you, and you can’t see them. There are no people, and therefore no politeness to people. Politeness is a form of acknowledging you are not alone.

In the dark, we can be easy in ourselves without the expectations of others.You can walk among the houses without walking among them.

As a child, I would go into dark rooms and stand there cocooned in this sort of comforting darkness. I would stand there without turning the lights on. I just wanted to be alone in the dark.

I do not fear the dark in and of itself. There is nothing to be afraid of in its silence or its comfortable purity. I am only afraid of the dark that is the presence of something. The darkness is scary because it has, say, a ghost in it, not because darkness is scary.

It is not the nothingness that we fear, but the somethingness in the nothingness.

This reminds me of a quote from the Tao Te Ching:

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.

Darkness is also this non-being we can use.

I have known this a long time. I have always been interested in negation, in what it can do for us. When I walk at night, I feel vast inside. My whole consciousness can expand to fill the silence. It can become the being in the non-being we use.

Swooning over the vast abyss, the moon is also like this. It’s swooning over us, impregnating the sky with its luminescence. It is filling the landscape up with its consciousness too. (Shelley said it was “a white and shapeless mass,” but he was wrong—the moon is an impregnating beauty.)

There will always be something about the night landscape that is perfect if you need to be in silence with yourself. And there will also be something about the night landscape that is perfect if you do not.

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