I am up late again this evening, as I have been for the past several nights. However, unlike the previous evenings, I felt the sudden urge to go for a drive. So at around 2:30 I lef the friendly confines the Sasquatch manor and ventured out onto the empty streets.
The few hours after midnight are magic time. They are the only undiscovered country in human society; the only remaining frontier. You can do almost anything you like after midnight. You can walk down the middle of the road with your eyes closed with at least a fifty percent chance of not getting run over by a car. You can stand in public marketplaces, shouting your head off like a lunatic, and nobody will question the status of your sanity.
Most importantly, however, you can dream. You might spend your days beholden to nitpicking bosses, family responsibilities, or senseless activities that fill the void between the two. But after midnight, all you have is yourself and your dreams. If you want it.
This evening, as I drove through the light winter rain, I dreamt of many things. I dreamt of my time as a child when I would wake up in the middle of the night and stare out my bedroom window onto the empty apartment complex across the street, wondering if the shadows of dogs painted across the fields behind were somehow monsters preying on those who ventured out too late. The wind and the rain never dampened their spirits. They danced and played with a vigor I have never since seen.
I dreamt of late summer nights spent with friends. Sometimes, in the lull between video games and cans of Mountain Dew, we’d retire to the back porch and watch the wind and the rain beat the thick trees around like rag dolls. We’d laugh and joke and smile, all the while unaware how difficult life would soon become.
I dreamt of an old girlfriend and the first time I kissed her. It was cold and windy that night as well.
I dreamt of the nights at camp, when the tent shook violently in the summer storms. I remember hiding beneath my blankets, wanting to be older and unafraid but still believing the wind and the rain would pick me up and toss me to a far away land.
I dreamt of endless nights in college, when the words in my textbook began to jump and waver, and the meaning behind them was as elusive as a butterfly. I remember closing the book and walking through the wooded path next to the dorm rooms. At night it was black as pitch. On the nights like tonight when the rain picked up, the trees danced and intricate, violent dance in the sky above. I was older, but no less frightened.
I dreamt of these things and more. And I smiled. I was no longer worried about my responsibilities. I no longer thought of my impending new job or my health problems. I no longer cared about those people who smile at me through patronizing eyes; who dismiss me as immature and stupid. I no longer cared about petty annoyances. All that mattered was the wind and the rain and the magic of the evening. Life was real for a moment. And to be caught in that moment, however rare, is a wonderful thing.