The country, at night

Flying over this country on a clear night is a powerful lesson in the actual and metaphorical existence of the human animal. By daylight one can see patterns, the circular trace of sprinkler systems, the clusters of buildings that crop up wherever the monotonous grid of roads make a crossroads. Human beings gather together (having just returned from New York, I can say, and HOW they gather together!) like planetary systems and galaxies gather, pulled towards each other for no other reason than the simple mass of their existence.

But at night, once one leaves whichever urban sprawl has spawned the airport, and without daylight to turn landscape into potential residences, there pass hours of darkness nothingness below, black on black punctuated by a dot of light here, a cluster there.

Until out of the blackness emerges a vast lake of lights, a golden smear against the darkling plain. Shaped like an amoeba by invisible boundaries, with no clue whatsoever why it would be there instead of half an hour from there, it is impossible to gaze down at the city of lights below and remain unaware how very alone we are in inhospitable space.

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  1. Anonymous on January 14, 2007 at 11:13 pm


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  2. L. Crampton, LAc on January 15, 2007 at 3:53 am

    Laurie, I’ve been awed on many a night flight by the crystal beauty of lights below . . . sometimes horrified by why it is that we are so afraid of the dark we must pollute the night skies with billions of energy-burning lights, even in parts of town (huge parking lots) where no one is sleeping to be protected by light. But, hospitable or inhospitable space is an intriguing question. I guess it depends on many confluent factors.

  3. cronznet on January 15, 2007 at 4:57 am

    One of the things I do to keep the dark at bay, I look here every day and hope to actually be there some glorious day.

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