When the cloud rolled in, my primitive man told me to go inside and start a fire to keep away the darkness. Just as I was in the middle of a good book, too.
I no longer trust the darkness. Never did really. I like the nighttime and tend to spend most of my insomniatic hours in it passing the time with books.
But when the woods turn dark and the twinkling of fireflies begins, I go inside. Instinct and fear against the random snapping of branches and crunching of leaves so far out in the inky black drive me to seek shelter. To find a place where everything is safe.
Some men were made to watch the fire, I tell myself, leaning on a theory that my insomnia is a random trait passed down from primitive ancestors. Someone along the line had to stay up, poke the fire with a stick and warn the others when danger showed. Someone had to stay awake because danger always showed.
That person, I think, was the first to make up stories. Sitting out there alone, he let the mind wander down dark hallways to explain why certain plants grew in summer or why there was a summer at all.
My ancestor had a lot of time on his hands and a lot of nothing surrounding him as the folks in the cave slept. The abyss of night captured his imagination and made it look back in on itself. And in the morning, while everyone told their dreams, the fire watcher told of great gods thrashing and brave men battling and horrible terrors lurking and helped others make sense of the world.
I imagine this inside my tin can on the top of a mountain while the cloud rolls in around me. The weather is damp and some would call it fog, but this high up I name it cloud and it makes me shiver as it blots out the little firefly lights and the familiar trees.
I watch it through a window and smile at the horrible beauty of a world shrouded. Then I go back to my book by the light of the electric fire.