Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Covering of Darkness

I have realized that under normal circumstances, once night falls, I tend to not spend very much time outdoors. That has recently changed, though, as Hannah and I have started running in the night's darkness. I am struck by how the covering of darkness brings such a different perspective to the earth.

When you run in the dark, you find that you notice different parts of the world. Especially sounds. During the day, when visibility is heightened, it seems that your primary source of sensory intake is through vision. But at night, vision being limited, my awareness of sounds is astronomically different than in the day. Since Hannah and I like to run through farmland, one of our favorite (and most adrenaline-pumping) sounds is that of a pack of coyotes howling. When coyotes howl it is almost symphonic; it is a very three-dimensional sound, kind of like an ambulance siren.

Running at night is also very rhythmical. The pound, pound, pound of feet on pavement serves as some type of adult lullaby. It's easy to lock into a rhythm and because you can't see far ahead at all, the upcoming big hills are not so discouraging - it's always just "foot ahead, foot ahead."

Night shadows are different than daylight shadows. Daylight shadows are always dark against light, but night shadows are dark against gray. The moon's phases vary the depth and coloring of the shadows as well and I have actually been really impressed with the amount of light variation produced by a waxing gibbous moon on a very cloudy night.

Night running makes you most glad for companionship. Running alone at night is scary. Running with your sister is bonding, "If that pack of coyotes actually does descend on us, we'll figure out how to scale a tree together!"