The Magic of Late Night Moonlight

Graphic by the author


Picture this: a nest of pillows, a warm crown of lamplight, a silent house. Outside, the world asserts itself (but does not intrude) through the faint sprinkling of rain, the decrescendos of airplanes. Maybe there’s a thick paperback involved, or perhaps a balancing laptop and an endless refrain of “last episode.” Late at night, when the hours slowly fold into each other like molasses, I’ve always felt that reality crystallized into this magical, ethereal bubble. To further illustrate what I mean, allow me to transport you into one of these such scenes.

It’s 11:45 on a Friday night, you’re holed up in your room, and you’ve just submitted the assignment you’ve laboured over for days. Equal parts giddy and euphoric, you feel your perspective shift like the stirring of a kaleidoscope. Colours take on a phosphoric light, sounds adopt a celestial hum. You begin to marvel at the simplest things—the clean lines of pencil on paper, the web of veins lacing a leaf. In the corner of your room, the sweater draped over your chair droops towards the floor like liquid; against the walls, shadow and light merge into a haze reminiscent of your transcending consciousness.

It’s incredible, the depths of our collective consciousness.

Spurred by a newfound desire for artistic immersion, you scour the web for Bach’s prelude to Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major. From that first open, resonant note, you’re whisked away to a grassy clearing beneath sweeping clouds. Then, with the alternating arpeggios, you’re danced through a twisting forest path and guided up a rocky ledge before emerging onto a sunny mountaintop. Long after the final chord, the sound continues to shiver down your neck. It’s incredible, the depths of our collective consciousness—though the piece was devoid of a human voice, you felt it: the rising curtains, the darkening clouds, the mounting tension, the cathartic return home. 

An hour after midnight, some innate instinct peels you from your burrow and draws you down the hallway. Though you may not be consciously aware of the fact, from 1:00 until 4:00 AM is the best time to drink water. It’s an intuitive truth: the taste takes on a cooler, smoother, and rounder quality, like a perfect pebble plucked from a tide pool. Whether the source is Fiji or Brita, tap or alkaline tonic, any water consumed in a moonlit kitchen automatically becomes drink from the purest fjord. Watching it fall into your clear glass, you’re reminded of the substance’s life-giving power, the ancient magnitude of the seas. To think that this very water may have once frequented the twilight of the seafloor…  Amazing.

  • As you pad back to your room, a glimpse of an old photograph elicits vignettes of your childhood: recess after a fall rainstorm, grass stains on blue jeans, Youtube videos on bus rides. Suddenly, you remember the Annoying Orange, a series that captivated you with its unmatched ability to irritate your parents. You visualize the celery colour of its eyes, the repulsive (yet hypnotizing) flapping of its tongue. As you ponder its character—its essence—you’re struck by a renewed sense of clarity concerning the infamous orange.

With its yellowed teeth, horse-like eyelashes, and a pock-marked complexion, perhaps Orange was acutely aware of its undesirability. If this were true, perhaps it thus nagged the more popular foodstuff as a coping mechanism for its low self-esteem. By constantly spewing bathroom jokes and flatulent noises, it could distract others from areas of itself it did not want analyzed. Therefore, rather than be judged and rejected, perhaps Orange created an over-the-top persona to push others away, thereby avoiding hurt on a more personal level. 

As you consider your past self, you recognize how you, too, erected facades that masked insecurities. Maybe this took the form of feigned overconfidence, or maybe this manifested through a quiet self-effacement. You cringe at yourself in retrospect. This makes you wonder—if you could go back in time knowing everything you know now, would you do it? Would you relive your life knowing how you could improve its trajectory, but burden yourself with fixing past transgressions? That said, have your blunders and failures not made you who you are at this exact moment in time? Are you not happy with yourself and what you have actualized, at this exact moment in time? 

Is that the sun already?

To answer this imperative question, you reason that you must first consider the three main facets of being qua Homo Sapien: the environmental conditions of one’s birth, the hereditary traits one inherits, and the whims of fate to which one is subjected. By merging these three facets, factoring in the distance to Mercury at the time of your first public humiliation, you find that the only logical conclusion is…

Is that the sun already? Looking over, the glowing numbers stare up at you from your phone: 5:23 AM. Though you strain to recapture the thread you were spinning, sleep begins to envelop you with its siren call. You feel your eyelids falling, your body sighing. Whatever you were thinking about would just have to wait; you’ve already slipped halfway into the cosmos. A thought for another night, perhaps.

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