the magic hours of the night

the first magic hour of the night occurs just after the last trace of dusk disappears and the first true darkness of night falls.

it is the moment the night people disconnect from the day people

(“the night people” that sounds so sinister, doesn’t it? like vampires or demons roaming the Earth in search of victims. nothing could be further from the truth: the night people are people just like the day people, humans with the same strengths and weaknesses, same virtues and vices, same wisdom and foolishness. the only difference is they are of the night tribe, and as such they live apart from the rest of humanity even while living among them)

as darkness falls, the day people come to their homes, ready to retire for the evening, prepare for sleep

but the night people feel something else calling them, something beckoning them awake

elsewhere children ignore their mothers, stay out on the street, engage in vast games of capture-the-flag that rage over many blocks, coming home only when exasperated parents finally drag them in

these children can’t articulate what they feel -- not yet, at least -- but they are answering the call of the night tribe

in years to come they will look back fondly on these games and remember them as their initiation into the night tribe, but for now they go in and wash up and eat dinner and dull their minds with TV and brush their teeth and go to bed and lay there awaken for hours, not knowing who or what is calling to them, only that they are called

this is the first magic hour of the night

.

in a small industrial strip, a single garage stays open, yellow light pouring out onto the empty moonlit street

the mechanic works on his own project, taking his time, sipping his coffee

he is alone but not alone; a mile away, a county away, a whole country away his brothers and sisters set about their solitary tasks while the day people prepare to shut down for the night

they are the vanguard of a vast army, ready to claim this night for their own

the mechanic may only be there for another hour, but that is time enough; he has disconnected with the day people, he sees and experience the hour in a way they never can

this is the second magic hour of the night

.

there are people going out to eat and drink and socialize, people going to plays and concerts and movies

these are not night people

these are day people, slumming as it were in the sacred lands of the night tribe

the night tribe bears them no animosity; rather, they ignore them: big dumb loud noisy day people, not knowing how to breathe the night air, live the night way

pretty soon they will stumble home to bed and leave the night for the tribe

the police and the criminals think they are of the night tribe, but they are not

the police are invaders, intruders, interlopers; they are only there to catch criminals

and criminals like to think they are night people but they aren’t

to them the night is a shield, a cloak

they can’t hear the night music

no, the real night people hang back while the day people finish their farces and seek oblivion

whatever the night people want, it is not oblivion

.

one by one, like time delay candles, the main body of the night people tribe come online, not in a literal sense (thought God knows enough prowl the web at that hour) but in the sense that one by one their begin their real function, their true purpose, and one by one become aware in some quantum or psychic way of the others out there, waiting for them

their people

a poet pours a small glass of sweet red vermouth, takes out paper and pen, and sets to work

a disc jockey fills most of his show with idle mindless chatter but every once in a while sends out a message to those within the sound of his voice: “Jean has a long mustache; the hour of liberation is at hand”

a mother puts her child to bed, satisfies her husband, then creeps into the living room ostensibly to read

in truth the book lays unopen in her lap, the TV remains cool and inert

her mind is racing, leaping, a gazelle among and above the winding streets around her

in a thousand and one shuttered businesses a thousand and one seemingly menial workers reveal themselves to be poets and philosophers and kings and queens

writers and artists sharpen their pencils, lick their points, ready to put heart and soul together

and they work together, or separately, seemingly disparate individuals but all contributing, all fueling the mind / the soul / the gestalt of the night tribe

it’s a time for music and musing, of creation both pro- and re-, of art and ideas, of knowledge and questions, of titans and trivia

this is the third magic hour of the night

.

at last comes the final hour of the night, the begrudging hour, the resentful hour when the night tribe must surrender their possession and co-exist with the mundane world of the day

an hour where the night tribe feels the spider web connecting them start to dissolve like dew in the morning sun

when grumpy day people come stomping in, turning on stoves, filling tanks, brewing coffee

and the night tribe silently releases their tenuous hold on the links that bind them and are blasted apart by the harsh rays of dawn

(yes, they’ll meet again, and yes, they’ll reclaim the night, but no parting is ever pleasant, no parting is ever sweet)

this is the last magic hour of the night

“well” the night tribe seems to say “what have we accomplished tonight? what have we done?”

a day person would fill the air with a long list of things concrete examples pre-comodified and sold: so many bagels, so many sonnets, so many lovers deceived, so many hearts broken

the night tribe answers differently

“what have we accomplished? we kept the faith, baby. we made it possible for other members of our tribe to make it through to another daybreak, supported by the knowledge there are others just like them out here.

“isn’t that enough?”

.

.

.

© Buzz Dixon

fictoid: The Plutonium Rule

Us vs Them (only who >is< "them"?)