The opposite of “Afraid of the dark”


collects slightly damaged strays
12 Years
Oct 22, 2008
Glen, Mississippi. 40+ chicken years
I remember when I was a kid and I woke with the night terrors and needed to clear my head and think I’d slip out the bedroom window and make my way by the light of the moon and stars over the mountain and down to a high glen on the south side. Only a half mile or so from the house but it was like a different world there. I’d sit on a stone outcrop covered with moss and lichen and lean back against an old gnarled pine and just listen to the foxes and the whippoorwills and watch the clouds drifting across the moon. Crickets, cicadas and tree frogs would soothe me. The breeze whispering through the tree tops was like God’s own hand protecting me. If the moon was bright sometimes if I looked hard I could see the bats diving and swirling around the tops of the trees catching bugs or maybe catch sight of an old owl making his rounds. Sometimes I’d see raccoons or ‘possums, sometimes it would be quiet and still as a graveyard.

I was alway comfortable with the night. Even as a child. I was terrified of people and always felt awkward and stupid around them. Bright daylight brought danger, humiliation and expectations I knew I could never fill. But nature was... home.

As I grew older and left home and started traveling my choices of places got wider. From the hills of my home in Mississippi to the deserts of Arizona to the forest of the Pacific Northwest to the jungles of Mexico to the tundra of Alaska. But nighttime in the wilds was my safe time. It was my peace, my relaxation and at times my salvation.

Now I’m old and my body is worn out and broken. I can only climb the mountains in my memories and I’ve hiked my last desert. I know I’ll never wake up again hundreds of miles from civilization with nothing but a pack and my kit to the sight of an eagle soaring overhead and the fog and mists hiding the mountain valleys.

But I can still sit, as I did in my wasted youth, and stare into the fire.

And think.

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