As a night person, I often feel the compulsion to escape from the confines of my house at odd hours of the night. In the chill of the night air, there is least somnolence in me; a part of me awakens which is dormant in the overpowering brightness of sunlight. The moon’s assuasive radiance is far more inviting than the arrogant, imposed glare of the sun, and I find that the night’s tranquility is a much more ideal setting for my introspective journeys. The moon has a way with young idle minds, and my mine is no exception.

Once again succumbing to my compulsion, I found myself a few miles up Mt. Hamilton perched precariously on an uncomfortably jagged rock, silently observing the proceedings below. From my vantage point, the entire valley was exposed before me, and the countless flickering orange lights below seemed to aspire to imitate the heavens above. The lights, densely packed into the valley, almost seemed to form a pattern, but just as it seemed there was some order to it all, the neat rows would diverge and the delicate order would give way to chaos. Sprinkled among the uniform sea of orange were a variety of other lights that further offset the sense of a pattern. The tireless pulse of light from the airport controller tower, the glow of neon signs trying to draw attention, and the dense cluster of lights from downtown buildings all added to the confusing mess. With its perpetual flow of cars and lights, the freeway bisected all the chaos. Even at this hour, a steady trickle of fellow insomniacs traveled down this main artery of the city, perhaps for reasons similar to my own. The red taillights and the white headlights ran parallel to each other creating a striking contrast that attracted my eye. How surprised these people would be to see the part of the pattern they play!

As a detached observer, one gains a new perspective on life. It is suddenly obvious that we are part of a pattern; we are the flickering lights in the distance, faint and dim alone, but comprising a magnificent society together. It is always a rather sobering experience to look at the world from afar and realize exactly how small and insignificant we are in our individuality. We, as a society, are so absorbed in the petty struggles of everyday life that we forget that none of our personal problems and endeavors are as important as we would like to think. Going through our daily struggles, it’s easy to lose perspective on life unless one stands up to peer above the walls of the maze occasionally.

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