A second darkness


20150129_163931I’ve never been afraid of walking in my own city even on dark nights. But even though this city does sleep it’s never entirely dark. Not so last evening, with no power anywhere through the three northern most counties. The streets were jammed with cars and buses, people leaving work and schools, long rows of vehicles moving like big fat turtles in a jagged rythm. I left the bus on the outskirts of town in a stark wind, deciding I could walk faster on my own two feet…but also wanting to experience the city on this rare occasion of utter darkness.

I passed the roundabout leading traffic in separate directions and entered a ghostly world of construction equipment, fences and slippery board walks. The world around me dead quiet except for the wind howling goulishly through the alleys. A denser darkness turned out to be two men walking towards me, then dispersing behind me like they had never even been there. The whole scene was almost post-apocalyptic but without the fear that would have accompanied it.

The wind pushed me into a lightstepped jog along the pavement. Entering main street there was a single lamp bursting with light in the blackness, probably on battery life. A few people wandered the street, some enjoying the eerie mood and some scutling off, huddled masses of desaturated somethings. A few coffee shops refusing to close even though nothing could be bought or sold harboured fugitives from the cold, candles flickering in the windows and on the tables. The mood was so strange I was a little sad to leave.

[candle photo: Abigail Thompson]

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