A few days ago I was watching one of those science-oriented shows and saw someone say that a fear of the dark is instinctive for humans, probably because our ancient ancestors who ventured out after sunset didn’t live long enough to reproduce.
I’ve never been afraid of the dark. I couldn’t understand why so many of my friends had to have a nightlight, or leave the door open to let in light from the hall when they went to bed. I welcomed the darkness, because that was the only time I could think my own thoughts and have time that was completely my own. The door was closed, the room was dark, and my parents were somewhere else. Why would anyone be afraid of that?
The neighborhood always seemed more welcoming and cozier after dark. The noises of the day were gone and I could hear dogs barking from far away. I could turn on my radio and listen to stations that only came in at night, sometimes waiting till the hour or half hour to find out where they were when they identified themselves. When I was growing up, I could look out the window and see most of the night sky (precious little light pollution in those days).
I’m older now, and when I look out at my neighborhood at night I still feel the same way. It’s cozier. More welcoming. We live in a safe place, so I can go walking pretty much anywhere near my house at night without fear (yes, even down the proverbial dark alleys, although no alley in the Los Angeles megalopolis is really dark). I still wonder why so many of my childhood friends were so afraid, and wonder whether they ever grew out of that fear and learned to appreciate the night.