The Sun Sets: Transitioning to a Darker Existence

It still surprises me when the sun sets before nine. For some reason, I still expect the everlasting sunshine of summer. As the days grow darker, I find myself reflecting on how I can prepare for this new season, and what it means to live a darker existence. 

view Salt Lake City at night from an airplane
Salt Lake City from an airplane

Even as a child, I’ve always appreciated the darkness. It’s less abrasive on my eyes, so I look forward to the shorter days after spending so many nights with a blanket over my head to combat the sunlight. With these shorter days, I find myself awakening to the world—spending time walking outside, visiting with friends, appreciating how society shifts towards a new existence in the fall. 

There’s something lovely in dark, moody evenings with lamps and lights aglow. Unlike the feeling of being seen throughout the light hours, darkness invites anonymity, which in turn invites each person to silently reckon with themselves. 

In this period of darkened days, I like to remind myself of the Creation story. On the first day, God creates light and separated it from the darkness (Genesis 1:3-4). Then, on the fourth day, God made the sun, moon, and stars, thus giving us light even in the darkness. The beauty of this creation is insurmountable, and I feel that I’ve never properly appreciated the artwork of the celestial sky. As a child, I would look at the stars at night, trying to find Polaris amongst her brothers and sisters or the always-recognizable Big Dipper. I lived out in the country, then, where light pollution didn’t impact my experience of the stars. 

Sliver of the moon overlooking Spruce St in Missoula, MT
Sliver of the moon overlooking Spruce St in Missoula, MT

I live in a city now, although I’m not sure how much I can consider Missoula, Montana a city after having lived in metro Atlanta. Even still, my nighttime strolls here bring their own charming loveliness as I watch the sun set and the moon shine, complemented by the glow of lamps, string lights, and store fronts. 

This darkness invites to turn internally, to think about the beauty brought my nighttime, and to appreciate our surroundings in a new way.