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from Acquainted with the Night by Christopher Dewdney (Bloomsbury) ISBN 0 7475 7252 6
I have been one acquainted with the night
I have walked in the rain - and back in the rain.
I have outwalked the farthest city light. ROBERT FROST
I love the night. Some of my earliest memories are of magical summer evenings, the excitement I felt at nights arrival, its dark splendor. Later, when I was eleven, there were hot summer nights, especially if the moon was bright, when I felt irresistibly drawn outside. I'd wait until my parents wre asleep and then sneak out of the house, avoiding the creaky parts of the wooden stairs and the oak floors in the hallway. After quietly shutting the back door behind me, I was free, deliciously alone in the warm night air. A bolt of pure electric joy would rush through me as I stepped into the bright stillness of the moonlit yard.
We lived at the edge of a forest, so I'd hop the trail fence and blend into the trees. Even without moonlight my night vision was good enough to avoid stepping on twigs and dry leaves. Imagining I was a puma or leopard, I'd walk silently through the forest, a creature free in the North American night. Although I didn't know it at the time, by exercising my night vision I was proving Victor Hogo's maxim "Strange to say, the luminous worlds is the invisible world; the luminous world is that which we do not see. Our eyes of flesh see only night." I was one with the darkness, the forest and the animals of the night.