Orange is my most and least favorite color. When the sun is about to set and it branches across the sky, I feel peace, calm, almost excited for the next day to arrive just so I can watch it again. Once the sun falls below the horizon though, the ugly doppelganger of the color shines down from street lights. The streetlamps have no warmth to them, just cold and lonely orange that taints the beauty of the night. I have never had the best luck replicating the color of the sunset, maybe because it is actually a rainbow that refracts against the clouds. I have, though, lamented the street lamps and empty sidewalks that the night brings out. When I think of the lonely ennui that is a symptom of our culture, the ugly orange street lamp on an empty street is the first thing that I picture.
I have had plenty of time to observe the street lamps. Lots of nights left unslept because my mind couldn’t turn off. I imagine that my insomnia is actually because I feel the need to explore and protect the night, like some sort of over-tired super hero. Since we were in our caves, we feared the night and tried to drive it away with fire. We feel hunted in the night, we feel everything more intensely.
The story goes, at least how my mother tells it, that even in the womb I was a night owl. I could only be calmed by classical music, and even then I was merely resting. As a toddler my parents would put me to bed, hear no noise from my room for hours, only to check in on me and find me wide awake, playing with my toys in the dark. As I got older, trying to stick to a normal schedule became tortuous. Nights of tossing and turning followed by melancholy days followed by more restless nights.
I knew I couldn’t go outside. It isn’t safe for a child much less a woman. There are predators out in the dark that come in all shapes and sizes. I couldn’t go outside at night, so my wanderlust began to blossom.
I read so many novels about lady knights, magic, heroes and heroines finding their destiny. Gods and Goddesses that are no longer worshiped, only known by name. Imagination was intoxicating. Not only could writers create unique and far-off places for us to read about, but our own brains have enough complexity to re-create them in our own minds. I reasoned that with such powerful imaginations, it was only time that prevented me from finding my destiny, not bound to the nine to five drivel.