It is night now. Not evening, not early morning, but simply and truly nighttime. Near the window, the breeze seeps in, dropping from over 80 degrees Fahrenheit to a cool 58. It is soon time for sleep and certainly time for silence.
As nighttime comes to our house, it envelops rooms in a sense of cozy and calm. Rugs and the couch seem to trump floors and wooden tables. Curtains cloak windows and muffle the remainders of the din of the day.
No room transitions so thoroughly from day into night as the kitchen. In the day, our kitchen is the hub of all activity. Kettles whistle, coffee is ground in the antique grinder, water hisses on, fills pots, and thumps off. Plates clatter as they go in or out of the dishwasher and drawers slide open and shut as cabinets empty onto chopping boards and into skillets.
Through all of this, traffic patterns ebb and flow. The dog enters, circles, and sequesters herself under the table. My husband and I waltz, sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally, on the old rug in the middle of the floor. I spin from sink to counter to stove to freezer and he moves through, dodging the hand grasping for more pepper and amusing the dog, who emerges, sits, and howls for a pat or a piece of cucumber.
But now, after stone counters have been wiped down, the compost pail has made its trek to the back corner of the yard, and glasses are seated on the wooden drying rack, the kitchen comes to rest, fully and completely.
In the kitchen, there is a dim light over the stove that remains on all night, providing the only light in the house for late returns from swing shift or that one last walk around the block with a sleepy canine more interested in lost French fries and cats than in moving swiftly. The light causes seasoned cast iron to glow, and creates shadows that hide the errant oat flake or drip of tomato sauce.
The radio is the last soul in the kitchen to come to rest. By night time, the buzz and urgency has left the voices of the public radio station announcers and local music or world news enters the room from the old clock radio, which has travelled across states and decades with my husband. It is likely to have already been turned low in order to allow for daytime phone calls or questions about lunch and plans and futures. It may even be left to talk to the silence, murmuring softly enough to be overshadowed by the refrigerator’s whir.
As the kitchen settles in for the night, so does the dog, who sleepily stands and stretches, arching her back as she staggers to the staircase leading to the bedroom and her own bed. Blueberries left from a raid on the bushes just out the side door sit in a mug, awaiting their morning hot cereal fate. And chairs sit empty, expecting company come dawn.
And night surrounds. And envelopes. And soothes. And renews.
And you? What happens as day turns to night in your life?