Eine kleine Nacht-Wandering

I was never afraid to go for a walk at night when I was a kid. Sometimes I’d take an old kerosene lantern, but if the moon was up, and it wasn’t too late, off I’d go into the darkness to have adventures. The night air was always full of mysterious noises, tantalizing aromas, and strange sights.

Not from my childhood. Last night – it was raining, of course.

Then I hit puberty and my fear of the night began. Not from any arbitrary awareness of the dark wildness that surrounded the property where we lived though. No, not that at all.

If you’re a woman then you probably have that sinking feeling in your gut that we’ve all experienced because you know what I’m going to write next, or a variation of it. You’ve experienced it too, to greater and lesser degrees.

If you’re a man, then you might suspect, and perhaps have some empathy and compassion, and I hope are actively working to change the culture that’s spawned it.

Back to puberty, and my best friend’s father suddenly starting to take an ‘interest’ in me. He stalked me. Day and night, then not at all until I’d start to have hope, thinking he’d tired of his little ‘game’. But the cycle would begin again.

There went my childhood. I survived it. But the night was never the same.

As a young adult I lived in a big city and learned very quickly where it was safe to walk alone and where it wasn’t, and when it was safe to walk alone and when it wasn’t.

It took me my twenties and goodly portion of my thirties to be able to reclaim the night. (Those ‘Reclaim the Night’ marches back in the 80’s were something to behold, weren’t they? … and if you never got to participate in one, then imagine walking with hundreds and sometimes thousands of women, in the dark, never alone, and with a big grin on your face)

I have my trusty little lantern, (battery powered and USB chargeable) and my walking stick, just in case my knee gets a little squibbely, and off into the night I go. (don’t worry I still have very good radar about where and when it’s safe to walk)

In the night there are always adventures to be had and wondrous sights to be seen. Like this little cedar tree, growing out the top of a fence post.

I have ambitions, I do.

I have ambitions, I do.

***

Here’s the real Eine kleine Nachtmusik, by Anna Maria’s wee lad Wolfie …

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23 comments on “Eine kleine Nacht-Wandering

  1. jenanita01 says:

    Since moving away from the big smoke (London) we are able to go for a walk in the dark whenever the mood takes us, and you are right, it’s such a different world…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When I read or hear of women’s fears such as this, I feel so bad about the men who bring them on

    Liked by 1 person

  3. And then when you get old, you feel safe again — but you just can’t walk as well anymore …

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jay says:

    I love to walk at night, but never without consideration for my safety. Sad that it comes to that, but it does.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I hope you told someone about the creepy father of your friend. That kind of behavior IS the problem, even before it escalates. These men fixate on women they would never be able to have an adult relationship with (they’re not adults, and their victims are children), and somehow justify it so they stay out of jail.

    I’m so sorry. And it’s so common. Even for real men, real women are a real challenge (etc., to all combinations of adults) – that’s the way it’s supposed to be if you don’t have an echo chamber. But to terrify children is so low.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Widdershins says:

      Sadly no-one believed me, even though everyone ‘knew’ what he was, especially the women. He wasn’t someone the adults wanted to ‘offend’ and he was in a position of power … small community, depressed economy, don’t make waves, menfolk need the work.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A.S. Akkalon says:

    I love being outside at night, especially without a torch, but I’m very cautious about doing it in urban areas. It’s sad that women have to think so much about such things.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Widdershins says:

    We live on a country back road, but still … a little caution goes a long way.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. elfkat says:

    Glad you’re reclaiming the beautiful night

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A couple weekends ago I was back visiting my childhood home for my youngest brother’s wedding, and my brother, cousin, husband and I took a walk “down to the pond” in the dark. It was a new moon, so there was barely any light, but we had starlight and we knew the way. It was great to simply gaze up at the stars; we can find peace in those moments that can’t often be found in the hectic pace of 21st-century living. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m so sorry that happened to you. Makes me mad that some men feel like they can steal a woman’s sense of self and well being (on top of stealing her body). Grrr. There aren’t any creepy men lurking in the woods around me, but I still don’t walk alone at night because of the cougars (not the old lady kind, ha ha, the real ones).

    Liked by 1 person

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