Late at night the city seems alive from afar. In the winter, when the clouds are out and snow is falling, the warm yellow glow of downtown can be seen from miles away, a beacon of life and kinetic energy shining through the darkness of the surrounding farmlands at night. Despite the lights though, once the night firmly grips downtown the signs of life disappear. Empty streets stretch far into distant darkness, where the eyes can no longer make out the shapes of the parked cars that sit silent at street meters.
The alleys and walkways of the city are lonely and empty, though the remnants of life remain, strewn about in odd places. Crushed headphones gather snow on the sidewalk, while discarded footwear sways gently in the cool breeze on a powerline. Tracks in the fresh falling snow reveal the evidence of other night dwellers, making their way through the empty city, dwelling in the shadows.
Security cameras keep watch over the empty streets and sidewalks. Only capturing footage of the falling snow and the occasional silhouette passing by. The security officer in charge of watching the monitor sits in a heated room and sips warm coffee, that is if there is anyone watching the monitors at all.
The sounds of the interstate are muffled by the blanket of fresh snow. Somewhere nearby a train passes through, the horn is quieted as well and sounds as though it is far far away, somewhere outside the warm glow of the city, deep in the shadows where the light wont fall.
Occasionally the small silhouette of a fellow night owl breaks the stillness and crosses the empty streets en route to their own destination. They soon melt into the shadows and again the stillness of the city is my own.
Hours from now after I have fallen under the spell of slumber, and the sun has begun to rise and spread its golden fingers over the land from the horizon in the east, the city will begin to wake up. The roads and sidewalks will once again be pulsing with life as people go about their daily routines. I am thankful though for these late hours when it feels like it is just me and the city sharing quiet moments.