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Acquainted with the Night. A Celebration of the Dark Hours by Christopher Dewdney

By Christopher Dewdney

We arrange for it each one night, and spend part our lives in its include, but evening keeps its mysteries. In conversant in THE evening, writer and poet Christopher Dewdney takes readers on a desirable trip throughout the nocturnal realm. Twelve chapters correspond to the twelve hours of an 'ideal' evening, beginning at 6pm and finishing at 6am, and function issues of departure for night's valuable topics; from sunsets, nocturnal animals, bedtime tales, gala's of the evening, fireworks, nightclubs, astronomy, sleep and goals, to the graveyard shift, girls of the evening, the artwork of evening, and never-ending nights. With boundless interest, a lyrical, intimate tone, and a mind for night-time beauties either typical and artifical, Dewdney paints an enthralling portrait of the nighttimes.

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Example text

Eliot's description of the sunset as a "patient etherised upon a table," a strangely apt metaphor that, at the time his poern was published, was regarded as anything but apt. ) It speaks to our aesthetic impulse that even the most inartistic among us still enjoys a lovely sunset, though this capability may be deep in our genes, in fact, for we are not the only creatures to enjoy a sunset. There is evidence that we share this appreciation with our closest cousins, the great apes. " Practically every inhabited geographic location on earth claims to have the best sunsets in the world, and individual estimations of what constitutes a good sunset are highly variable.

So when was the first night on earth? Was the establishment of night and day a gradual process or an abrupt one? We can answer the first question roughly by looking at the history of our planet. 5 billion years ago, so the primary night had to have occurred sometime close to that, within, say, a few million years. Because night needs daylight to define it, night could only have started when sunlight reached the surface of our planet, after the dust of creation had been scrubbed from earth's sky.

For some, night may be a time of anxiety, of loneliness and apprehension; for others, it is a celebratory time of freedom from work, of sensual pleasures and entertainments. Night is when we can put the worries of the day behind, yet it is also a frontier in which we are blind, where unseen dangers lurk. We are creatures of the day, and night has historically been our adversary, an exception to the rule of light. But in the larger universe the reverse is true, night is the rule and light is the exception.

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