They say it is a whole different world at night, and that is true. It is my world. I have always been a night person. It is one of the reasons I do well at my job as a baker. I work 10 hour shifts from 8 in the evening to 6 in the morning. All night long, it’s just me and the ovens. I enjoy it, and because I work at night I have been gifted with many unique sights and experiences. When I first started the job I was mainly concerned with not forgetting anything and getting done on time, but as I became more skilled and comfortable, I found moments that I could rest or have a snack. That is when the Night began to reveal itself in all its quiet crazy glory.
My first experience with baker’s Night Life came after I had been on the job about 6 months. It was 1A.M. and I was having my “lunch.” As I sat eating my little sandwich and looking out the windows into the quiet dark, I saw 2 cowboys in full cattle-drive costume: ten-gallon hats, chaps, long coats, boots, lassos, everything. They were both on horseback going at a full gallop right down the center of south Meridian. I was stunned! Then my brain said YEE HAW and I was delighted. It was like a special treat just for me. I have been peering into the dark ever since.
I make up stories about people as I watch their comings and goings. Sometimes I don’t have to make it up. I’ve witnessed love stories unfolding, like when I saw a couple spread a blanket on the hood of their car in the back parking lot. They looked at the stars and talked for hours. That morning as I walked to my car, I passed where they had been. There by the curb was the cellophane from a single rose and 2 empty bottles of Modelo Especial. I hope they live happily ever after.
Some of the people I see put me in a mystery-story mood. One summer, I would see this man for several weeks that in my mind I called The Lone Walker. He looked like an antihero right out of a post-apocalyptic graphic novel in all black clothing, grey heavy boots, and trench coat walking down the deserted streets. He was on his way to meet with grim destiny, I am sure.
Of course, I see (other) little comedies play out as well. One Saturday night I saw a certain young man who was cute, blonde, and dressed in his country-western finest. He must have wandered down from Club Rodeo, because he was cross-eyed drunk. He just stumbled in no particular direction – he looked as lost as one of the Duke Boys coming straight out of that old TV show Dukes of Hazzard. My heart went out to the poor guy, but not for long. All of a sudden, he threw his hat up in the air and started waving and jumping up and down. His friends followed the hooting and drove into the parking lot – not in the General Lee, but indeed in a sweet vintage blue metalflake Trans-Am. He hopped into the car, and as they left, I swear I could almost hear the Flux Capacitors whirring as they sped back to 1981.
But that’s just the night people. There is so much more to enjoy in the wee hours – most importantly, the night sky. I am a smoker, but even if I wasn’t, I would still take some of my breaks outside just for the view. I buy a farmers almanac every year so I can keep up on all the upcoming planetary alignments and events. Last year was particularly interesting with Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus lining up in the sky. One amazing night, the moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter was actually aligning with Mars, so I sat outside and sang the song Age of Aquarius to commemorate the occasion. But my favorite things to see in the sky are meteor showers. Some (like the Geminids) are just a few streaks in the sky every now and again, but others (like the Perseids) can look like it is raining light. Beautiful!
There is one more night-sky event that I watch, but it is a different sort of phenomenon. Every year on New Years Eve I go out to the back with my cup of tea. There is someone that lives about 2 or 3 miles away and they save one single aerial firework from the 4th of July. Exactly at midnight, up it goes: one bright flower of light. I don’t know who they are, but I stand out in the cold every year and share the moment with them. Just in case they happen to read this, Thank You very much! I raise my teacup to you with deep appreciation.
Well, those are just some of my tales from the middle of the night. If some time you find you cannot sleep, turn off the T.V. or computer, go make yourself a nice cup of tea, and come outside to watch the world with me. I’ll be waiting.
(c) Holly Leach All rights reserved.