There’s something to be said for the newly fallen dark. People praise the moonlight of the true night and dance in the bright sunshine of noon. They revere the pink blush of a sunrise and they worship the golds and scarlets of the sunset. Mornings and afternoons, with their variety of brightnesses are useful and who doesn’t love a good pre-dawn stillness? But the newly fallen dark gets forgotten. Too dark for the rich, deep hues of black, blue and purple to be impressive. Too new for the first rays of moonlight and the first kisses of starlight to have broken through.
People forget that the beauty of the world doesn’t begin and end with their eyes. They miss out on the perfection of the silence between the settling down of the daytime creatures and the rising of the nocturnal ones. They miss out on the crisp, clean breeze whistling between their teeth. They miss out on the damp, earthy scent of nature relaxing.
While we sit here, waiting, open your senses to where we are. Feel the ground cooling beneath you and the way it leeches at your legs, trying to hang on to the last vestiges of your body heat. Ignore the sound of your own laboured breathing - can’t you hear the leaves losing their daytime vigour? The scuttling of the insects that haven’t made it back to their homes in time and the creaking of the tree trunks that are shaking off the attention of the sunlight. Stick out your tongue. Go on, I won’t laugh. What can you taste? That slight bitterness is the last of the day’s pollen, drifting to settle on the dirt below. Surely you’ve noticed that the nighttime tastes different to the day.
That’s the trouble nowadays. Nobody notices. Nobody takes the time to be still. Well, it’s as good a time as any to show you. You can spend some of your last night appreciating what’s around you. This is a good place for it. We’re in a perfectly isolated spot. Trees stand close around us and with this tall grass encircling, it almost feels like we’re the only two people left in the universe. Of course we aren’t but can you imagine if we were? The uninterrupted blissful silence? Or, at least, silence from the population at large. Here though, the hills around soak up the shouts of the city. Sounds from us are absorbed too. Why, I think I could stand and shout at the top of my lungs and only the foxes would hear.
There’s no interfering street lamps or car fumes to distract us from the undiluted magic of our surroundings and there’s really nothing left to do at this point. I mean, obviously I’ll have some work to do after but until then, we’re just killing time.
Speaking of, have you ever felt soil? Everybody does as a child but so few do as adults. Wiggle your fingers - isn’t it incredible? Modern life is all about the clean, the sterile, the smooth. I don’t go in for that much; it’s why we’re doing this here. Feel the different sizes. The tiny grains that cling to the creases in your knuckles and the bigger clods that you can crush between your fingers. Feel the grit and the mud and the stones. Dig your fingers into the ground beside you and feel the life within. The compressed potential. The night air makes it feel damper than it is. Well, that and - well you know. I guess the damp you can feel is real too. Can you still - never mind. What a rude question. But this is actually a dry soil most of the time and as you can tell from the vegetation, it feeds the world around it. Look how vibrant, how lush the grass is. How strong the flowers stand and how the leaves on the ivy stretch towards the aether, reaching up like tendrils, like fingers begging from the stars. If you lie quite still, you can almost feel the nutrients flowing from below you, like electricity, like life.
Most people think of this as a gloom but they just don’t appreciate the splendour of this time of day. The heavy blackness of the night pressing down from above, settling in like a comforter. It’s a cloudy night or you’d start to see the stars in a few moments but that’s good too. It’s warmer with the clouds. It also means we won’t be disturbed by the stark brightness of the moonlight. I chose a good night for it, didn’t I?
Can you feel the night pressing down? It’s the world’s way of calming and slowing us and it feels like a hand on your chest, pushing you below water and holding you steady underneath. Take a deep breath or the deepest you can, anyway. Feel the night creeping into your lungs and weighing your body down. Feel the last of your warmth drain out and feel nature’s chill take up residence in your bones, in your very being.
How arrogant you were this morning when you stretched your limbs and took your vitality for granted. You thought yourself an island, aloof from your surroundings and owing nothing. As if you wouldn’t need to repay for every breath you’ve ever taken, every step you’ve ever walked.
They say lawyers are the worst for their ignorance so rooted are you in your own brilliance. As if your brilliance could ever compare to this around you. I watched you, you know. Before. Asked you for the coin for a coffee and you waltzed past, ignoring me the way you have ignored what now clamours for your attention. Well, now your very lifeblood is feeding it, you must be regretting your ignorance somewhat.
Your strength belongs to the earth - it always has; it’s only ever been loaned to you and the full pressure of the newly fallen dark will claim what it is owed. I’m just glad I could show you what you’ve missed before it did. Be thankful. Be calm. Your debt is due and you can rest easy knowing that it is paid.
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Wow. Very good story. Almost like one of Gaia's daughters returning to be with her mother again. "You've always wanted to know what it was like to be flesh-and-blood, my daughter," Gaia says. "I granted your wish. Now you know. It isn't always easy being human. There are thoughts, desires, opinions, and so on, that constantly course through their entire being. That can make their lives wonderful, or very difficult, or somewhere in between. But when their final hour comes, they always return whence they came. They aren't forced to l...
I did have in mind an agent of one of the old gods - I need to read more about Gaia though as I feel like my knowledge is surface level. Thanks for the comment!
I used to read a lot about mythology when I was in grade school. Mostly Greek, but some Egyptian and Norse as well, with a little Roman. The Greek was the most interesting to me back then. But why would Gaia need an agent? To go where she couldn't (openly) go, of course, but which places would those be, and why would she need to know about them? Maybe Hephaestus (blacksmith of the Gods) has been creating something that has a negative impact on the natural world that he doesn't know about (or doesn't care about)? Maybe because Ares as...
This is absolutely breathtaking! My heart itches to be in the sitting in the long grass, soil flowing into my palms. The description is so real and I've never read anything like this before. I wish I could close my eyes and read this because I'd like to picture everything a bit more clearly, too bad I can't. I loved how you showed how much you can feel if you take the time to breathe and feel! Great job!
Thank you so much! This is lovely feedback. Are there any areas of critique you can see?
I think that the transition from paragraph 2 to 3 is a little bit fast. Besides that, it's wonderful!
It was very nice and super story I loved it