The Dark of Night

I want to spend more time in the black of night, experiencing its beauty and my own ability to feel capable and unafraid in it.  I want to take my children out into this same darkness, and give it to them as a gift, and the lessons of self and universe it can offer.  ( I also want them to go to sleep early!!!!!!!! so I can have more time to get things done myself!)  Months back a friend and I had this exchange on Facebook, and I would like to share what he wrote.

Annie30 March at 09:02 
I agree about Earth Hour b.s. I love what you wrote about darkness. half of my mental energy goes to thinking how do we prepare our children for the future. Darkness, as you say. Also courage, creativity, resourcefulness, how to be moral beings but take care of themselves…. can you tell me a little about “seeing in the darkness”  tnx

Rumi Mohideen 30 March at 13:26
Seeing in darkness is the simplest thing. The back of your eye (Cornea I think) which receives light is made up of rods and cones which accept different types of light. The cones handle color vision, the rods handle light and shadow. 

There are more rods than cones. Cones are concentrated around the centre of the back of the eye and are primarily concerned with detail and color. Less cones are scattered throughout the rest of the back of the eye with rods. Rods are primarily concerned with differentiating between shade light and movement.  

In darkness vision is limited to black and white, definition is poor and so vision is primarily concerned with navigation. other instincts also come into play in this state, 3Fs (Fear, Fight or Flight) collectively known as panic. Very dangerous emotions which can cause injuries. Move slowly and methodically, look using your peripheral vision and look for movement.  

Why are the woods scary at night? Its a primevel fear of Bears and Wild Boar. But that woods are among the safest places at night – because most people are terrified of the woods at night.
Take care Annie


3 Responses to “The Dark of Night”

  1. John P Says:

    I read an article once about life before electricity, when it was dark at night- really dark! The ability of ordinary people to engage in complex activities after the sun has set is a very, very recent development-think about it!
    Candles and/or lamp oil was expensive, common people just did not use them (in films even simple peasants have homes brightly lit by candles and lamps-it wasn’t like that). So after sun down, unless there was moonlight-or firelight- it was very hard to see, much less get around.

    Mostly, people slept after dark, and rose at first light

    I’d love to find that article again.

    It was also noted that many more injuries occurred in daily life, ( nightly life) because in the dark people often fell, or bumped into things, etc etc.

  2. nicola baird Says:

    When I lived in the Pacific’s Solomon Islands for two years it became dark very fast after 6pm. I never really understood running for the sunset and as I often worked late at the magazine offices I was also often quite terrified by the mile or so walk home without street lights. One time I could only walk down China Town – normally so bustling – hand in hand with a stranger, who luckily for me was passing at a moment when I could no longer move one step further into the dark. His intentions were not entirely honorable but he talked to me enough – what’s your name, are you married, what church are you? (v standard Solomon smalltalk back in the 1990s) – to give me the confidence to somehow keep walking through the 3D velvet night, certain that he’d also help me to avoid the spot on the road where a snake’s many eggs had hatched. All the time I knew the dark and the snakes were less of a risk, but still seemed compelled to seek an answering voice – literally any human would do. That night journey ended happily for me, and thinking about it again now (thanks to Annie) it reminds me not just how basic my own fear of the dark is, but also how much joy I feel (then, and even now) when my bus pulls up at a stop awash with light and I can just hop back into a well lit century. It’s one teenage pleasure that has never, ever faded. And as a result I have so-far failed to show my own children the pleasures of dark nights, add stars, full moon and torches (and maybe headlights) and then I feel v differently. Clearly I need workshopping, but suspect I’d be too chicken to even start…

  3. annie g. Says:

    I spent a few months living out in the forest on a small island on the narmada river in India. I had no torch and would often find myself walking back late to where I slept. it would be absolutely pitch black, but I learnt to see with my feet (I think you need to be barefoot to do this) and would never loose the small forest path. I think other parts of our brain and our other senses take over when we need them to if we don’t give in to fear/panic. I also think that the darkness is a special time for creativity or reflection and that in the modern world of electric lights we have lost a very special space. Its night time when the witches fly which to me symbolises that the night time is a time for the feminine and the magical. when we lose the night we lose a bit of the magic in ourselves!

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