The days are becoming shorter. Night is encroaching upon those hours that have previously been seen in the light of day. Having grown up on a parallel much further south than this, I am still unaccustomed to the dark that happens around 4pm. Shouldn’t I be locked up in my flat by then, eating my dinner and possibly settling down to knitting something I will never wear or give away or even finish? What can I say? I’m more of a process person.
I like walking the streets in Edinburgh at night; before you start drawing all the wrong conclusions with the first part of this sentence, let me explain. The city transforms at night: the people seem different, the lights have changed, sounds are muffled and carried. I don’t mind my long walks home from pubs or movies or restaurants. The hat slips on over my head, my coat is zipped up to my neck and I am ready to explore the city that doesn’t exist in the daylight.
Apologies to drivers and everyone else inconvenienced by this, but I like it that Princes Street is closed. The humming of the machinery as it works away is somehow a much more calming sound than the constant noise of cars working their way up and down the street. The lights that illuminate the work space cast strange shadows over the sidewalks and paths. Princes Street is a good place to view the buildings along the Royal Mile. The castle is lit up and other buildings are bathed in light.
At night it is easier to catch snips of conversation from couples, friends, families and gaggles of people as they walk their way from point A to B to L to Z. I’m not into eaves dropping (ok, I am, but this isn’t the place to confess it), but it is comforting to hear the minute details of work accomplished and plans being made for a much needed holiday or kitchen counter top or relationship. This coupled with my other pastime of looking-from-the-corner-of-my-eye-into-lit-up-flats-and-houses-but-pretending-not-to-look makes me quite a happy girl. Mentally, I am congratulating people on their good taste (Oh Yes! That mushroom colour in the hallway does complement the off-white cornice) or chastising them (What were you thinking when you covered your living room walls in terracotta. What do you think this is?! Italy!) It is actually the home interiors thing that I’m looking for and I feel awful should I actually see a person in any of those spaces. I’m not a voyeur. I swear it. I just have this thing for home décor.
I like the calm of the night. My day is filled with dashing from one task to the other with hardly a minute to think. On my long walks home at night, it gives me the freedom to mull over ideas and review what has or has not been accomplished. Plans seem to form much more easily in this kind of quiet, as do the lists of ways I am going to accomplish my dreams.
And the thing is, quite honestly, I really do love this city. There is no questioning its beauty, its variety, its character. At night the city reveals something different, like another facet of its personality and it is a personality I enjoy.
*There are only a limited number of zines, so make haste and pick yours up at Hannah Zakari