“Life begins at night”

Last night it rained, a quiet rain. I was surprised that Henry’s fur was wet. Today is damp, drab, an ugly morning.

There are no streets lights so I have my own. In each of my downstairs windows candles are always lit. I find it welcoming. At night, I have the over the kitchen sink light lit and one lamp here in the den. Outside the back door, a string of white lights on my fence is always lit. Connected to it is a giant star. I love my house at night.

In Bolga, at night, the only light came from a few lit bulbs on store fronts and from kerosene lanterns here and there up and down the street. Each lantern shined on an auntie selling food from the sides of the street. The aunties tended charcoal fires. Some fires cooked kabobs of beef, liver or goat meat over grates. At other fires, large enamel bowls sat on racks over the burning charcoal. The bowls were filled with hot oil cooking plantains or yams. I always went for the plantain. I loved Bolga at night.

Accra was a small city back then. There were few cars at night and most of the stores were closed. Only kiosks on the roadsides were still open. Most used lanterns for light. I remember walking back to the Peace Corps hostel. I always felt safe. Sometimes I’d pass men sitting in a sort of circle on wooden lounge like chairs or on the ground, their legs crossed. They talked in muted voices. We always greeted each other. They had lanterns. I remember the lanterns blinked and wavered. I loved Accra at night.

Once I was outside and a woman who was walking by asked me why I had lights in the windows. She said they were only in historical houses on 6A and in the historical district in Dennis, and my house wasn’t historic. I thought her rude. My only comment was, “Lights in the windows bid angels come unaware.” She walked away.

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10 Comments on ““Life begins at night””

  1. hedley Says:

    When I got my first Nikon camera (thank you Paul Simon) I loved to venture out with tripod in to the night air to record scenes. I think that I had been influenced by Brassai’s “Paris at Night” but rather than individuals I was looking for cityscapes with long streams of red and white lights from the cars passing by.

    Of course in them there days, I had to wait for the photos to come back from the developer and hope that i had opened the shutter long enough to get a worthwhile image.

    Today the cameras are so super duper that they will use the available light to produce an evening image, its dropped immediately on my ipad and open for editing. I am not sure that it is as much fun or creative as those very early days as I tried to master the Nikon and light conditions

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      My first Nikon camera was because of you. I took it to Ghana and got the best shots, especially of the market. I seldom did night scenes there.

      Many years ago I had a great Canon camera. It used film. I took a lot of black and white shots. I love e the depth.

      I need an updated camera before Ghana next year. I like Nikons but I’ll do some researching first.

  2. Birgit Says:

    Too many street lights here and I’m glad I don’t live next to the lightened street. Occasionally I walk home at night when the train is late and the last tram is gone. No problem, it’s just long and boring. Our public transport schedule changes in December. They said everything will be better but they cancel our last tram so I’ll have to walk way more often. Walking is healthy, isn’t it?

    • katry Says:

      Hi Birgit,
      My neighborhood has no street lights, but it looks lovely at night with the houses shining with light through front windows. No places are close to where I live so walking is out as is a bus.

      Yup, walking is healthy!!

  3. Rowen Says:

    Wonderful reply. It sounds like there’s no threat of angels being bidden come to her house.

  4. Bob Cohen Says:

    Hi Kat,

    While watching the TV last night at about 9:30 the power went out as we were struck by a tornado. Thankfully, no one was hurt and the building survived except for one window which blew out. All of North Dallas looks like a bomb exploded. Some very expensive homes were flattened, streets are closed and most traffic lights are inoperative causing huge traffic jams. In our area small area 75,000 customers are without power with an estimated restoration date unknown. We are staying in a hotel again until the power is restored. I wonder if former President G.W. Bush is sitting in his North Dallas home without power? When the storm hit we huddled in an inside powder room while we could hear chunks of stuff pelting the building and the roof. Most of the sound was from branches and pieces of roofing torn from the building across the street being driven at over 100 MPH. Amazingly, no one was killed.

    Of course after the tornado passed we were hit by a squal line of thunderstorms in the middle of the night. Today, the skies were clear and the temperatures in the mid 70s.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      That is really horrifying. It is bad enough to lose electricity but then, even worse, to be struck by a tornado. I’m glad you and your family are okay.

      Some people are still without electricity here. Upper cape has so many trees and poles blown down during the nor’easter. I hope you get yours back sooner. We have hurricanes to worry about, not tornados. They can be equally damaging.

      Stayed cloudy until late afternoon.


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