Friday, 29 October 2010

and things that go bump in the night......

Why should we have any fear of the dark? Somehow darkness is synonymous with all the bad things and daylight with all the good things. I have to admit to fear of the dark; it is quite irrational and my sensible self tells me not to be so silly. But my 'real' self still does not care to walk down the yard in the dark. I am quite happy on the walk down to shut in the hens but I am pretty jumpy on the return, having a stupid feeling that I am being followed. And in the middle of the night if I find it too warm I would love to put my foot out of bed on to the top of the duvet to cool down, but dare I do that? No - irrationally I wonder if there is a hand which might grab hold of my foot.

I once admitted to the farmer that I had never been for a walk in the moonlight, so one night, when it was a full moon, we went for a walk across the fields. It was so beautiful. It was a still, warm night and light enough to see exactly where we were going. My little black pug, Algy, was still alive and he came with us - and wherever he went we could still see him. It was, as they say, "as light as day." All colour had gone from the scenery, everything was in monochrome. The trees were still. Only the water in the beck sparkled and moved along at its usual rate. I count that walk as one of the most perfect I have ever done. But, dare I have done it on my own - sorry but no. Don't tell me I am stupid about it. I know that full well. But it doesn't make it any easier. And with Hallowe'en coming up this weekend - well the feeling may well be worse than usual. We have lovely bats flying about here - only on or two but they fly swiftly and silently up and down the yard, just above one's head. I love them and would love to stay out and watch them for a while, as long as the farmer is there too.

What are your views of the dark? Am I the only one to be afraid of it? I do hope not - there is safety in numbers. I just wonder if the fear goes back to my childhood in the fens of Lincolnshire. Our only toilet (I am writing here of the 1930's) was an outside toilet at the bottom of the garden. Going down to the toilet was, for me, a major operation - only undertaken when I could wait no longer!
I would gather all my strength and courage for the return to the house, open the toilet door and make a dash for it, never stopping until I opened the kitchen door and the light poured out. Then I would breathe a sigh of relief that I had made it unscathed.

So whoever said, "From ghoulies and ghosties and things that go bump in the night - the good Lord deliver us" certainly hits the nail on the head for me. What about you?

30 comments:

Crafty Green Poet said...

When I was a child I was totally afraid of the dark, I once was convinced there were dark monsters under my bed.

When I was in Malawi I used to walk around the school and village in the dark, there were no streetlights. Once I fell into a drainage ditch on a night when there was moon so I learned a sensible respect for the dark.

Edinburgh is a fairly safe city so I don't feel at danger going out after dark (and we do have streetlights here unlike in Malawi!), however I do prefer daylight...

Doohie said...

I've never liked the dark and I have to have a nightlight on the landing. I don't like reaching into a dark room to close the door. You never know, something may be lurking there ready to grab my arm.

Hildred and Charles said...

It's not the darkness that scared me when I was a child, but coming up the basement steps with eggs retrieved from the crock in which my mother preserved them in isinglass was a frightening experience, and I used to hurry as fast as I could to escape whatever monsters might be hiding in the cellar.

Putting your hand into the isinglass was pretty weird too!

Pondside said...

I'd rather walk in the daylight! I hate to stumble across a raccoon in the dark, although it would be more likely that I'd stumble over a wheel barrow or other tool that The Great Dane has left standing for the next day.

Jinksy said...

Dark is ok if it's not pitch black - then I start to wonder what there is just out of sight! As for bumps in the night- I trust to my logic to explain them away these days.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I'm afraid of the dark even though I love the night. I always turn the light on when I go to the bathroom. I'm not as bad as when I was a child - terribly frightened then - or even in years after that. I'm okay if the moon lights my way, but I always feel better when a light goes on.

Shirley said...

Everything seems to take on different proportions in the dark. I dislike being able to see everything around me and, yes, I too would be afraid to walk alone in the dark. Perhaps it's all those scary movies, I don't know, but reason tells me it's fine while my imagination carries me away. Doesn't it seem like crime escalates under the cover of night? All that goes bump in the night and all that....

Heather said...

Once again I find myself agreeing with every word in your post Pat. I remember going to the outside toilet at my grandmother's house where we lived during the war. It was just along from the back door but I was convinced that something awful might occur after dark, and that if I reached the safety of 'indoors' without the air-raid siren sounding, all would be well. Having a small garden fairly well lit by street lights takes away much of the fear of darkness but we get no delights like a walk on the wild side in glorious moonlight.

Granny Sue said...

I think criminals must be afraid of the dark too, because crime rates go up on full moon nights and I don't think it's because they are all werewolves. I am not afraid of the dark and love night walks, or nights on the ridge looking up at the stars. Driving at night,though, that's another story. Hate it.

As a child I was terrified of the dark. I could imagine all sorts of things out there...

Jenn Jilks said...

I do so love your header! Well done. I went into town, to stay with the kids, and left a couple of ears of corn on the front door as decoration. We had a massive wind storm blow through and hubby and cats were quite upset with the knocking on the door all night! He couldn't open the door as the cats would run out!!!!
I'm with you. Dark scares me, especially when stressed anyway.

Rare Lesser Spotted said...

As a spiritualist, psychic and occasional paranormal investigator, my maxim has always been this: that the only thing that can hurt someone in the dark is a being with two legs - the invisible ones are harmless enough. I guess that it's all about how people were brought up with the dark, their attitude to it as a child and because there there may be some susceptability to the psychological fears brought about by ghost stories, television and horror films etc. I have a great deal of sympathy with anyone who doesn't like the dark and I think it's difficult to get over, so sensible precautions from your bloggers like nightlights, a bright led display from a clock, a torch by the bedside table or being with someone (although this can lead to mass hysteria if you both get scared if you're not careful) is very sensible. If you don't have to go out in the dark or wander round the house at midnight in the dark - don't!
Sleep well.

Kayla coo said...

I think there is a friendly dark and also a scary dark.
The friendly is the dark that you hide in as a child like the dens we made as children, crawling under blankets draped over chairs.
A protective womb like darkness.
Scary darkness is where there is no end to it, where you feel vulnerable and alone.
M x

Cloudia said...

Sometimes. . . .


:)



Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral

><}}(°>

Reader Wil said...

A great post, especially now Halloween is coming. I usually don't fear the dark, but nowadays there are some really bad people trying to rob people when it's getting dark. Last year winter two men rang my doorbell at 9.15 pm. It was pitch dark. They told me they were collecting money for sick children. I didn't open my frontdoor and lied to them telling them that I couldn't find the key. I gave them a euro through my letterbox. This was very strange for all collections are always announced beforehand in the local newspapers and this one wasn't. Come to think of it: I should have warned the police.

Helsie said...

You know the things that scare me in the dark are the animals and creepy crawlies that roam then. If you roam around outside you hear them rustling the bushes. Now I'm not afraid of that but when a toad lands right on my foot in its efforts to get away - THAT is what scares me!!!( cane toadss are gross) or a huge spider runs over my hand when I put it on the gate post - ugh!
On the toilet at the bottom of the garden topic- When I was a child ( in the 50s) our family had what we called "toilet parade"! We all went out to the loo and sat on the grassy slope of our backyard while everyone had their turn and while we waited we had our own family concert where we recited poems and sang songs and talked about our day. So I don't remember ever being frightened but then I was never alone either.
Cheers
Helen

Gwei Mui said...

It's not soo much the darkness but what the abscence or is hidden in the blackness for me

Bovey Belle said...

I'm scared of the dark too (I put it down to reading to many Pan book of horror stories type books in my teens!) We have the landing light on here at night to find our way to the loo as no street lights for miles and night really IS pitch-black here.

Yet I remember one incredible moonlit night, with snow on the ground, when my best friend and I decided to go and see our ponies in their field. It was MAGICAL.

Tramp said...

So much difference between the bright night of a full moon and the darkness of a cloudy night with no moon.
...Tramp

The Solitary Walker said...

I think we humans all have a natural respect for the dark - which can range from slight apprehension to full-blown terror. It's an atavistic thing. The night could bring unexpected attacks from enemies under cover of darkness. And it also unlocks in our fertile imaginations all those tales of witches and warlocks and tales of the supernatural which go way back. Myself, like Tramp, I love to walk under a full moon. The real pleasure of night, however, is, for me, the anticipation of the dawn. I could never live permanently in those far northern countries where half the year is blackness.

Dave King said...

For my 60th birthday my wife hired a cottage - an old school house - in the country. Outside at night was the first time the grandchildren had known real darkness. Armed with powerful torches they went for long walks after dark - with their father. They loved it - until coming back on our last evening they spotted eyes in the bushes watching them!

steven said...

weaver i am still afraid of the dark - fifty three years old. luckily my kids like a light on in the hall so it's never entirely dark. steven

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Your moonlight walk description reminds me of the passage in The Wind in the Willows, with that wonderful description of the river and countryside in moonlight! I love the dark with it's lovely woodland smells and also the light with the sunlight gleaming through leaves.

The Weaver of Grass said...

How comforting to know that so many of you are also scared of the dark - thought it was only me.

I think Robert (Solitary Walker) sums up the reason very well.

Thanks for the comments.

Reader Wil said...

Lang zal ze leven...Long shall she live... That's what Dutch people sing on one's birthday! Happy birthday dear Pat! I wish you many more to come together with your husband and familie and all your friends.

patteran said...

Anyone from late middle age onwards probably has a more acute sense of the darkness than those younger. Light nowadays seems as constant and universals as sound. So whilst I might feel uncomfortable, even a little spooked, in total darkness, the primal intensity of the state is familiar from childhood. A curious and under-appreciated legacy from those relatively pre-tech times!

PurestGreen said...

When I was a child I would take the walk between our house and my grandparents' house nearby- down the path, over the creek, through the garden, past the barn and up their driveway. In the dark I would take a torch, and torture myself by flashing the light into the trees to see if the eyes of a cougar would flash. These were dark nights, but I loved them.

Years later I used to wrap a blanket around myself and head out on full moon winter nights, walking through the silent blue glow.

I hope you get the chance to do another moonlit walk. There is nothing like them.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Why is everything monochrome at night, instead of just duller sades of daylit colour? Dominic would probably know. Ive often wondered.

Thanks verrily for offering to pilot the bus,I put you down to drive on Dec 20th, is this a bit near Christmas for you?

Elizabeth said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

I sort of agree with you.
I'm totally brave during the day but hate to spend the night alone in a house where people could CREEP UP!
as for the ankle grabbing thing under the bed
it lives in my house too!

MarmaladeRose said...

I'm with you Pat. It's obviously being alone in the dark that's the problem. How silly eh!

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

my field is situated right next foor to a hraveyard.....and i NEVER FEEL frightened when I am outside in the dark

what I do like is the gentle bump bump of the chickens as they bicker for the best perchesinside the hen houses