As the pieces of day disappear between black trees and clouds, our fear of the terrestrial dark is marked by the hum and glow of incandescent orange. Here in Dervaig, swaths of slick streets and buildings reflect a synthetic firelight the color of Irn-Bru. Behind me, slivers of light filter from The Bellachroy Hotel as it continues belching its 400-year tune of mirth, forgetfulness. Somewhere in the silent sea ahead hides my car, and I am swimming through the moist air beading on my hands and face. There are noises in the far-off places and glimmers in the near-at-hand night.
The mind is more full of demons than any earthly dark place. They whisper how the world works, to lock your doors, to not talk to strangers. They steal the magic. Long ago, when man was new, every wrinkle of nature must have been miraculous: the disappearance and return of the sun, the movements of streams and oceans, the rainbow changes of foliage. We have spent billions of lives cataloging, arranging, and defining the world, building up our knowledge like a Jenga tower. And draining out the magic, the fear. Staring down this ill-lit street at nightfall, I think about forgetting, about the tower crashing down, about the subsequent flood of wonder.