There is something majestic about the whole scene, something inky and purple about the texture of the night that sets in, the kind of night one doesn’t meet at any other time of year. It is so dark that anything that is light takes on new significance, the light from the inside of a passing car, the glow of a neon sign.
The days, if sunny, are colored with orange haze and long lovely shadows. Many of the days are sunless. These days are more like monotonous shrouds of cottony white and gray that stretch around barns and church steeples. The darkness is thus a reprieve: an opportunity to forget, a chance to dream. When 4 pm feels like 9 pm, then the very notion of time itself becomes irrelevant. Some might see this as an obstacle, but others might see it as liberating, an empowering opportunity.
Each day no matter the length I wrestle with assumptions. People have assumptions about me as I do about them. One is that, being from New York, that I am suffocating or drowning living in a small wooden town like Viljandi, and would still suffer in an even larger “metropolis” like Tallinn, home to just 400,000 souls, about the same number as Cleveland, Ohio, or Omaha, Nebraska. My truth is that big cities can be even lonelier places than small towns, as I have experienced first hand. Just because one is surrounded by people does not mean that they know who you are or care about your well being. And often the streets are just as deserted. I’ve rambled through the empty black streets of Washington, DC, and New York City and Boston in the wee hours, like wading through graveyards, the only signs of life being the homeless bums snoring away on the park benches, the pigeons pecking away at the garbage.
Another assumption is that just because I have written a book about Estonia (two actually), that I am some kind of expert or knowledgeable person when it comes to this place. Not only that, but I am a figure who might be able to give a person advice (!). In which case, I almost automatically point the hapless soul searchers in the direction of fellow bloggers Flasher T or Mingus, gentlemen who exude enough confidence to fool others into believing that they actually possess some form of insight or wisdom. I understand the need to look for support. Life is tricky. I can’t even count all the letters I’ve sent to Vello Vikerkaar asking his advice on whatever it is that pesters me. But we are all just humans! Equally flawed, equally ridiculous.
Supposedly, the above attitude makes me a nihilist, which sounds quite scary. I imagine nihilists to be cloaked in shadows, weepy and black, like Sirius Snape sporting a “No More Mr. Nice Guy” coffee mug in one hand, a scythe in the other, and a puss that conveys a nasty attitude. I have no idea how this nihilism snuck up on me and overtook me. It was plain highway robbery, or rather a back alley mugging. But I think it comes in handy in times like these, the autumn of autumn. Long days or long nights, sun-drenched insomnia or gloom-induced narcolepsy. It’s all just weather, right? Equally flawed, equally ridiculous.