When I was a kid, I was terrified of the dark. I'm not really sure why. I don't think I ever really thought about why. I just knew that everyone else was scared of it too, so there must've been a good reason. I don't actually remember ever being alone in the dark... I've always had a night light.
I don't know when I grew out of that. I remember being terrified of it when I was little, and I remember not caring about it once I hit twelve. Maybe I grew out of the fear, or maybe I never really had it in the first place. Maybe it was a gradual thing. I remember walking my dog when it was dark out during Autumn. Maybe it wasn't the smartest idea... I was in Canada at the time, and there were a lot of bears where I lived. But I was just a reckless kid, and even though I got a little nervous sometimes, I never took my dog for his walk earlier.
But it was once once I moved out into the countryside that I really started to love the dark. Not just any dark... the darkness outside, in the middle of the night, with all those stars above and the wind in the trees and the sound of the river splashing over the rocks. Sometimes I'd just go stand out there in the middle of the night. Just for a few minutes. It got pretty cold, and the bugs were bad, so I never stayed out there long.
I've just been sat here thinking how much I miss that. I live in a town now. The sky's full of artificial light, and the air is full of the sounds and smells of cars and trains and people. I've went out there once or twice, but it's not the same.
There was something about standing outside in the night, so far from any real towns, too far for the light pollution to block out the stars or the sounds of humanity to break the silence. It didn't feel safe for me... if anything, it felt the opposite. There's nothing truly dangerous out in the British countryside, but I'd still be listening intently for the sounds of a threat beneath the rustling of the leaves and the shrieking wind, my eyes darting about, trying to make sure nothing was sneaking up on me. No, it didn't feel safe... but it felt like home all the same.
That feeling... it just felt so familiar. There was fear and apprehension, but it was a fear I knew and understood. Even when life got really tough, I could go out there and remember what living is really about. Beneath that beautiful sky, in that peaceful valley, I sat in the dark and listened for a threat that I knew didn't exist, because I feel like that's what life is supposed to be like. Every day feels so empty without that feeling... that thrill of being alive, and knowing there's a multitude of things out there that will take that from you... with every extra day you live being a victory against seemingly impossible odds.
Now I'm an adult. I'm not afraid of the dark anymore, but I've got other things to be scared of. Real things.
But above all else, I just wish I could go back out there, into the dark, away from the noise and the smell and the artificial light... out under the stars that I can't even see from here, with the wind tugging at the trees and the river flowing and the flies buzzing around my face... just so I can go out there, and remember what it's all for. To remember what life is really about.
It's so easy to lose sight of that.
This has been Nostalgic Ramblings™ by Charias.
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