I don’t ask this because I stay up late at night. If I tell you I regularly go to bed at 1 am, you may think of me as a night owl. However, I often think of night owls as people who get up late in the mornings. I usually wake up between 7 and 8 in the morning, and I wake up happy and eager to start my day. I would gladly get up earlier if I had to, and for a few years, I did. I used to attend a 5:30 am outdoor fitness class and loved starting my day in the cover of darkness and witnessing the day break. I used to volunteer at an emergency room many years ago, and I chose the shift that started at 4 in the morning. I loved it. So I tend to think of myself as a morning person. I don’t understand this incongruence in me. It’s just the way I am.
I love the stillness of the night long after the sun has set and calm before the sun rises once again. Therefore, I believe I am a lover of nights—a nocturnal being. The word nocturnal may conjure images of a predatory animal skulking under the cover of darkness, but loving nights does not mean I love the darkness. On the contrary, I love the night because of the light. I marvel at the city lights piercing the darkness. I take comfort in the fire that warms the cold nights. I find beauty in the red and white thin bright lights from cars trekking through the dark desert. In this same desert, I look up and worship the light of the one hundred thousand million stars forming the milky way, and there are at least one hundred billion galaxies beyond it.
To me, it is an opera of epic proportions. The sun gave light and life to Earth, and each day we turn away from our life-giving star to gaze upon ancient light from eons ago. Ancient light that calls to us and to which we feebly answer with our own artificial light and begin our journey into the night. Then our window into the universe starts to vanish as we turn again towards our life-giving star.
The night is full of mysteries, and I wonder: are we about to embark on a rite of passage experienced countless times by life across the universe or are we the first to dream.