A yellowish light descends upon the 7Cs. The air begins to chill and people who traverse the fields, walkways, and suburbs of Claremont each day begin to settle into the hush of twilight, preparing for day’s end.
Soon the yellow turns to a deeply hypnotic hue and die blaue Stunde descends; a fragment of time so brief, so fleeting, and yet, as it passes we find ourselves transported to another world: the realm of Night.
Most people consider this to be a time, roughly between 6 p.m. and 1 a.m., where dinner is eaten, homework is hurriedly finished, and sleep is plunged into with the desperate self-indulgence that one might throw into the first embrace of a long-awaited reunion. Then we awake on the other side, where the sun is up, the birds are chirping, and the veil of night is promptly forgotten.
This is one of the most tragic realizations I’ve encountered: that so few people recognize the majesty of Night.
Now, while some of you might be reading and protesting that you don’t count because you stay up late all the time, let me ask: do you ever go outside during that time? If not, I highly recommend you do. We’ve been taught that night is when the monsters come out: coyotes, Grendel, and various other miscellaneous ghouls that live in the shadows, waiting to mar our destinies. This, however, isn’t really too often the case, especially here in Claremont on a weeknight.
No, instead the world becomes a ghost town. By 2 a.m., it feels as though everything has been spirited away into a whole new realm: one where only you, the buildings, the moon, the stars, the mountain hares, and the distant coyote howls remain. With only the dreamy lights of each deserted campus to light your way (And the occasional Campus Safety golf cart, just to provide an element of adventure), everything seems alive with the whisperings of ancient magic.
Looking up, you see that the sky feels lower, closer, as though it’s come down to your level to walk the barren yet familiar walkways by your side; to cloak you and give you company. When the sun is gone, your eyes are brought to — low and behold — a dreamy soirée of the familiar and the strange. Each path, each building, each rock and tree—every element around you is highlighted in a whole new way. Things to which you may have never given a second thought are suddenly adorned with a fantastical glow that leaves you no choice but to be convinced of their celebrity. All mediocrity is banished from the world when one merely stops to really look and appreciate the detailed nuances of their immediate surroundings.
In fact, to all those reading this article, I implore you: the next time you find yourself bored and restless, go outside and pick up the first random piece of foliage you find on the ground. Take a moment to look at it—not just as the object you know it to be, but as the organism it is, was, and could have been. Enter its world. Were you to embody its essence, what details of yourself would you hold to be most telling of your story? Perhaps the graceful gradient of color between one part and the next, or the uniquely chaotic little hole, now dried and brittle around the edges, where a bug found its way days before.
There are an endless number of these small wonders just lying at your feet, but only by taking a moment to forget time and place and really look, will they ever be known.
Similarly, in the cold, eerie glow of night, the magic of each detail is elevated to a whole new level—one where nothing matters but you and the nuances of the world. In the wee small hours of the morning, you don’t owe anything to anyone beside yourself, and with that the world is transformed into your own utopia of entrancing shadows and long-forgotten memories.
As we grow older and taller, we stop appreciating the infinity of tiny wonders scattered around our feet. We get too caught up in the big things on the horizon, and too apprehensive of dirt and (possible) disease. Similarly, instilled in us is a fear of night and a belief that it’s nothing more than a time to sleep, stress, deviate, or drink.
But as the sun goes down and we’re left to ourselves; we are given the chance to step back in time—out of time—and into a kingdom all our own: where magic has been returned to the world and whimsy rules our hearts and minds. All that’s needed is for us to open ourselves and believe in the insurmountable range of opportunities to dazzle us.
And so I beseech thee: sit upon the ground and marvel at the ant’s kingdom once more; traverse the night and float through the misty, dark morning. Open yourself to the idea of inexplicable experiences, and allow yourself to be spirited away into the realm of imagination—you just might find your childhood waiting at its gates.
*Title taken from the Adicts song of the same name.