I’m happiest when the sun goes down.
Don’t get me wrong. I love a sunny day what with its picnics, patios, swimming, biking and promenading. But there’s something about night that is refreshing. There’s a quiet respected rhythm of the night.
I do my best thinking at night. I write better, I read better. I love the sound of movement in the distance – all that immediate and distracting waste that surrounds us during the day is washed away in the gloaming. We’re left with clean, promising darkness.
A little while ago, I found myself walking home in the middle of the night. It was close to 3 in the morning. I had missed the last train and had taken the night bus back to the east end. It was a clean, clear, calm winter night. With snow up to my knees. No wind. Still as can be. I stopped and looked at the most dazzling moon. I was at ease, total peace. I could care less that it was three in the morning, that my feet were tired and my lids were heavy. There was this inexplicable calm I felt … night is night. If I got home in fifteen minutes or an hour what difference would it make? As soon as the sun sets and the light is snuffed out and that molasses thick darkness descends – the tricks and tired tropes of the day dissolve. This all sounds like two-bit philosophy. But it’s intangible. It’s inspiring. It isn’t ominous.
I wrote this awful little play once called “A Couple of Nighthawks”. It was about this ex-couple, who meet again in a 24 Hour diner. I thought it was good. It really isn’t. But the inspiration came from Hopper’s magnificent painting and my fascination with the hours when most are asleep. What conversations happen at 2 on Wednesday morning? Are hearts are being broken? Do people find happiness before dawn? Night allows for questioning – rhetorical and otherwise – it prompts curiosity and longing, because you become acutely aware of how alone you are. In my play I tried to make my characters sound terribly world weary and broken against the backdrop of the night…but who knows if it worked. Where it does seem to be working is in this movie The Off Hours. It’s simple, poetic and smart. Watch the trailer. You won’t be displeased.