March 30, 2019

Midnight World

Heading out into the dark, to escape personal darkness.

Lately, I've been going through some struggles, and going out into the night always seems to help. It made me thinking about this phenomenon and how it opens a whole new world to appreciate. So, I thought to write down some merits of the night:

Night is beautiful. No matter the location, the night brings many visual qualities. Plenty of urban areas are more colorful at night than during the day, as the artificial lighting turns every otherwise dull surface into a palette of saturated shades.

Big cities benefit from this case in particular (pictured is Shanghai). But nonetheless, the night is stunning away from light pollution too.

While the night reveals or highlights some shapes and colors, it takes others away. Which brings me to another point:

You won't see things. All the dust, litter, old leaves, and other eyesore are hidden.

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Streets look cleaner at night. Pictured is London.

It isn't just the junk, though. Sometimes, you won't see much in general. And as the brain attempts to construct the unseen, the darkness stimulates the imagination and brings mysteriousness. This can be inspiring, calming, and strangely satisfying. Einstein said that the mysterious is the most beautiful thing we can experience, and he was onto something.

You won't be seen. Good for introvert souls, but perhaps more importantly, it allows having a look around some fascinating places that could be questioned during the daytime.

Time flows differently. There aren't all the crowds commuting, no tourists are wandering about, the place isn't as in a rush as per usual. The streets are empty, calm, and quiet. This makes a good environment to relax and to value the otherwise hidden layers of ambient sounds around.

This spot above a freight railway terminal was my sanctuary when I used to photograph breaking news. Chasing destruction during the day, then sorting my thoughts at night: sitting here, listening to the noises below.


The night isn't just a momentary distraction. I've been getting out at night to find a sense of inner peace for about a decade now. Following pic is from early 2010:

Climbing above all the worries, relaxing with pleasing scenery and fresh air, and then and walking home with a clean head.

No matter where I lived, the night always had a place in my heart. Whether it was Europe...

...Asia...

Nanjing at night.

...or America.

When I lived in my car, sometimes I left the trusty parking lot next to a swimming pool, my usual address, and drove away to enjoy the night in the middle of nowhere.

A man's home car is his castle. I have such pleasant memories at that time. I'd brush my teeth, sit on the roof of the truck to look at the night sky, and then sleep like a baby until the morning.


Embracing the night is grand to do on your own..

..But it is even better with like-minded people:

Night adventures in Brno.

Somewhere halfway between heaven and earth.

Recently in Dundee.


Thanks for reading. If you liked this content, you might also like my articles about:

Solo hike into remoteness of the UK's largest national park

Joys of getting off the grid in misty Scottish Highlands.

After being on the road for years, I am a stranger everywhere

The hardship of finding "home."

Published by: Jakub Stepanovic in Collections, Essays

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