I grew up in a very tiny place where people whisper after nightfall as if afraid of the darkness. Lying on our beds at 7:30 pm or earlier, we felt disturbed by footsteps of night crawlers and engines of occasional passing vehicles. Anybody or anything out so late was definitely up to something suspicious. A person who came home after dark was most likely involved in anti-social activities. Nighttime was when the devil came out to play. It used to be so quiet that every sound seemed to be coming from right outside the window. It used to be so decent that whenever a car blew its horn, we assumed that there was an emergency.
On most dry nights, the only noise we could hear were buzzes of different insects. Insects we never even cared to know the names of. We could hear the croaks of frogs and toads deep down in the wet fields at the bottoms of the hills. We could even hear the sound of water flowing in the little stream far away. Those nights were eerie but so peaceful. We slept to that music and now I have to pay to listen to such resonances.
On one such night, the whole neighborhood unpleasantly woke up when a man and his wife felt compelled to untangle their issues. It was most likely that either or both had had a couple of drinks. Nobody would probably notice if they had the same tone of argument in daylight but at night, everything got magnified. From a kilometer away, I could tell who was fighting and which neighbor had gone to intervene. Our closely knitted society always felt the responsibility to get involved and help solve disputes no matter who was fighting.
Nights on our little hill seemed lifeless for man. It was only meant for resting. Because of this fear for darkness, we made the most of daylight. We woke up at dawn and had plenty of time to do chores, school works, play and eat before we had to dress for school or go to work. Morning was the most productive time of the day and we were proving it everyday.
Life isn’t the same anymore in my little town. I saw the fear of nighttime disappearing as I was growing up. Sleeping late became a vogue of modern living that everybody wanted to cultivate. Now vehicles plough our roads throughout the night with unconcerned drivers blowing their horns unnecessarily. We can hardly hear the insects anymore and the stream seems to have dried up. Our very progressive society no longer cares about our neighbors. Only small-minded people would complain about the unbearably loud music coming out from your house.
Now we run late for everything and there isn’t enough time for anything. But for those who still insist on leading a pitiful rustic lifestyle, daylight is still plenty. It is because they sleep early and wake up early, they don’t watch much television and they remember the ways of the past. They don’t need to stretch their working hours to after dark. To them, night is only for resting.
Only devils come out to play at nighttime.