A Lonely Night; The Summer of ’62

Rich felt helplessly marooned on the farm. There was a perpetual empty feeling of isolation, especially on summer nights. From outside his second story bedroom window were the orchestrated symphony of crickets, tree frogs, and an occasional beetle crashing against the screen like a symbol. In the distance from the interstate highway, echoed the lonely whining dirge of a semi, spinning its way through the infinite night, destined for nowhere. Lightening bugs pulsated like beacons from distant worlds, amid the backdrop of stars stuck permanently like daggers in the night sky. The moon, sometimes, appeared to be like a slit in a black curtain and Rich wondered what was hidden beyond. It sometimes frightened him, the concept of eternity, like opening a door only to find another door and another and another.

It was muggy and hot. The only window in his room faced the south and only occasionally the recipient of a cool breeze. As the night went well along, it cooled and Rich pulled the sheet over him to keep away the chill of the night.

His radio played. It was a conduit to the outside world, beyond the corn, soybean, and wheat fields of northwest Ohio. Late at night and into the early hours of the morning magic came out of that little box; from Des Moines, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Nashville; Jazz, country, and bluegrass dominated the night radio waves. It was music for the sad, depressed, sleepless, dreamers, thinkers, poets, and lonely. Sometimes Rich thought that perhaps he was the only one listening. “Who else, but me, would be lying awake and listening to Dave Brubeck?”

One night his loneliness urged to quietly tiptoe out his room, downstairs, and out into the night.

He walked freely about the night through the fields of corn and beans. He traversed up and down the road that their farm was on. No one was there to observe or instruct him differently. It was like being the only person left on earth. He felt never so free.

What prevents me from getting on my bike and leaving?” Rich thought. “To go to where the music comes from. To go where there is no loneliness.”

He thought of leaving everything behind and being a sojourner of the night. He arrived at the conclusion this might be an option for the future, but not now. For now, he just wanted to explore the quiet and still of the night.

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