Friday, 26 November 2010


At this time of year it is difficult fitting everything in within the hours of daylight.
This isn't a new phenomenon; it has been the same ever since we moved here. If I don't feed the animals early enough before it gets dark, for example, the food lies around all night and encourages rats, which is never a good thing. This means that I really need to stop working at around 3.30 to do all my animal chores and give Moose his evening walk. It really messes up my working day, but even at his venerable age, the thought of having an underexercised collie in the house is still worse than actually wrapping up warm and going out!

That's the official timetable anyway.
Some days it doesn't quite work out like that, and the light is fading by the time Moose and I are ready. No matter. The roads are quiet here, so I don my reflective vest, put a torch in my pocket and set out regardless.

There are only a couple of street lights in the village, and none whatsoever after passing the village sign. There used to be more, but the Council switched two thirds of them off in a fit of money-saving zeal and it is so much more pleasant. I love walking in proper darkness without the sodium glow on the horizon.

This evening I was half-way around my usual circuit when I met an elderly gentleman I sometimes see, and stopped for a brief chat.
"Aren't you scared?" he asked, "Out here in the dark on your own."
I was puzzled.
It had never even occurred to me that I should be scared. I like the dark. I had a torch in my pocket and a rather protective medium-sized dog with me. There is very little traffic, and the thought of someone lying in wait behind a hedge in the frigid conditions on the off-chance that I might pass seems very unlikely.

I don't want to be scared about things like that.
There are plenty of things that I am nervous about now I am alone. I don't use the chainsaw when there is no one around after promising my family that I wouldn't. I'm not keen on heights, so ladders are best avoided where possible.
The thought of breaking an arm or leg is a constant worry as it would make my life well-nigh impossible.
I am totally paranoid about being tripped up by the dog on my way downstairs and breaking my neck.
And constantly at the back of my mind is the nagging fear that I will wake up dead one morning, just like R did, only there will be no one here to call for an ambulance.

But walking in the dark? No way.
I shall continue to enjoy that. Particularly on a cold, crisp, icy night like tonight when the starlight is almost dazzling and there is a nearly full moon to light my path.
That is a pleasure, not something to be feared.


  1. There is a different kind of stillness at night ... especially when there is snow on the ground ... add a little moonlight and it is magical. We don't usually go too far afield on our last outing (around 8-8:30). I'm more afraid of wild critters than humans in our area ... but I don't really need to be afraid of those either. I'm sure Mingus would give the alarm ... though he would be NO help if there was something.

    I admit that I don't get enough done in winter. I am so controlled by daylight. When it's dark, my body thinks, "bedtime" and I start shutting down. What gets done must get done in the morning!

  2. Absolutely, it is a pleasure. I like it when the dark is a friend.

  3. i understand fears. i have quite a few of my own. especially the one about waking up dead, or worse; waking up dying and being alone. i am glad you feel safe where you live. i am so glad you feel safe walking in the dark. icy night. starlight. waning moon. you describe what i used to know so beautifully. my wish for you is that you always feel this safe about your walks. i also wish you peace.