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To Live by Night

by Etel Adnan, June 2013

For a few years I’ve been thinking about night: Thinking? I'm not sure. It's something else and much more. It's an investment of my being into the presence of night, in its most physical sense, and into that strange concept that includes our everyday life since we're born.

I am a night being. As far back as I can remember, I have been intrigued by the descent of the night on my days. Literally, a curtain descends at different hours, according to seasons, but it descends. What does it bring? It brings candles and lamps, for sure, dinners and then sleep. Sleep not as an absence of wakefulness but as the beginning of a different world. And I have always loved sleeping: its intimacy, its adventurousness. After all, night is the domain of dreams, and dreams are the greatest expansions of our minds.

Night is a velvety experience. Its darkness, even at its fullness, has its own light. A light some animals know more than we do. It's even a world where vision, when it exists, is at its greatest. It's the stuff of interstellar space. Closest to what the universe is about.

I often think of what the human race would have been if it had lived by night. If it had slept through the blinding light of our days. Maybe, we would have been more sensitive to love. Who knows? Maybe it would be the way of some future. Who knows?

I am inviting you not to sleep tonight. To go out. Not only tonight but many nights in a row. Drive only by night. Sit by a river, the Rhine, the Elbe, the Amazon, and listen to that river ... To live by night is to live by ear, and the eye will follow, and will see even more. And the ears and the eyes of your soul will discover the friendliness of a world different from the one you know, and take you into journeys that the imagination hasn't figured out yet.