For tens of thousands of years fire was our sole means of extinguishing darkness. Night imposed its own authority, forcing us to huddle together for safety. The day was too valuable to waste; a good night’s sleep was necessary to make the most of it.
Nightfall excites the imagination. Storytelling around a campfire is an ancient tradition that brought a structure and prelude to the night. Everyone gathered together to listen and savor the warmth, and when the tales were finished it was time for sleep (or sex).
Now we have incredible technology for shaping the hours after the sun. Electricity grants the power to flood rooms, buildings, and cities with light. Cybernetics has made us a nocturnal species, and work and social life have exploited this, demanding and expecting late hours from all.
Bringing an end to the day is a fine art made invisible by the campfire masters. Doing this for yourself is a skill that is never taught. I try to practice it each day, and it is hard. But when I put a value on my own rhythm, not just time, I find the night to be more inviting, relaxing, and peaceful.