The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

JUNE  2005

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.








by Toneeke Henderson

(Since everyone is keying in on the Fathers Day thing I  will save that article for a time when everyone can appreciate it  more.)

It is a warm summery evening and the moon is busting the limits of the midnight sky. So I sit and stare at  the stars and think to myself what a crazy world we live in. Full moons, Lilly ponds, croakin' toads, and crickets after midnight. 

Have you ever just stayed up really late just to see what the stroke of  midnight might brings. Oh I am sure you have, but have you  really?

One night in the middle of nowhere I decided to sit in total silence and  listen

to midnight arrive. I chose a spot not too familiar and not too far away.  The surroundings were enchanting to a sort, there were cattails near by, no not the kind with four legs, the kind you find near the creek or at my lily pond.  The moon was full, and beaming downwards near my point of interest. Reflecting  light just enough to keep the boogie man  away.

I heard a hoot owl soothing the air's mysterious movement.  There were small rustling sounds in the grass nearby. Believing to myself that other non-humanoid life forces were awaiting the same test of time, when a split  second makes the most difference in the mundane world around us.

Toneeke Henderson

A fish made it's last swoosh and plop into the waters in  front of me, a toad croaked to note his presence at my side. So now it was just I, in the dark alone. One fish, one toad, one owl. We sat endlessly under the moon for at least twenty minutes. It almost felt like new Years when we await that transition between worlds to pass through the looking glass into land of betwixt, to which we all exist.

I listened as my wind up clock ticking and tocking. I had gotten so comfortable as if to be so relaxed I could fall asleep. Then it happened, there it was the sound I had been waiting for, the anticipated moment  when all things happen, brbrbbrrrrrrring the doggone alarm went off scaring the begeebies right outa my skin and into the night.

Geeza peas, I think I beat all the cat tails into another  nine lives, yeah, that's the four-legged kind. I don't think my heart has raced  that fast since, well since when ever it was, if I can even recollect a timely  event of such magnitude. We are talking wind up clocks here and we all know when they go off they mean business. 

Just imagine sitting in the dark next to a pond. Gazing  into the darkness hoping and waiting for nature to awaken you to another realm of existence. Just you, a fish, a toad, and the owl anticipating the sounds of the movement in which the totality of day ends and begins all at once.

Then as the clock ticked and tocked its last seconds, the unexpected alarm scaring the tan right off your skin. Sending it running faster than your underwear into the darkness, leaving you naked and in shock, unable to move or make a sound, frozen in time, eyes bulging so far your eyelashes were now your eyebrows. Yeah, you know the feeling  right.

Well, I guarantee ya, if Jesus was sitting there with me, we'd both been booking it across that ponds water. Oh, the sounds of after midnight are quite startling to say the least. That's where the crickets come in, for in that instance when the heart believes it was just shocked by the ultimate view of  star wars; the crickets decided to laugh at you.

How embarrassing, I am sure by that time even the snails  were rolling on the ground chuckling.

Now I guess you are wondering what it truly is; that sound of after midnight that exchanges places with the depths of pre begebbie's mortem. Well, I  had to go to sleep and try it again after such experience my ears had forgot to even listen for all they could hear at that given moment was the beating of my  heart shocked by the attack of the alarm.

The second attempt was even more fun. I had someone stand across the pond  with a flashlight to let me know that second of time's interchange with a simple  flash of Morse code. Much less of a shock wave at least for me. My friend decided to do as I had, a wind up alarm that would tick tock along the side of  nature. You must be thinking as I am about what would happen at that given moment when their alarm goes off.

I am still laughing. I got comfortable in my chair. I found the toad sitting there with his oxygen tank attached, since his previous experience as well noted him the skipping of eight lily pads in a single bound. The fish and owl were quite smart as well. The owl sat atop a small branch that cascaded over  the waters edge, conversing with the fish as to make sure they didn't miss a  thing.

Silence was definitely around us. I laid my head back and waited quietly as my mind went blank. I looked up at the stars then glanced across the pond at  my friend. I never saw such a light show in all my life. There was such a commotion that the flashlight was dancing on its own. Why, poor Morse now had to  change his name to Dances with Light. I saw my friend's clothes run across the water without him in them. And that flashlight was trailing behind him like what appeared to be a fire trail. I wonder if the smoke was from the effects of after  midnight or something all too  real.

So, the sounds that I experienced that night were incredible to the ears for when you seem to think there is something there and there isn't, is there really. It is not the dark that is weird out there, it is merely that which exists in the dark. You see, if you survive the brink of night that becomes after midnight, then you get the chance to know the 13th hour of the night.  That which follows midnight and exists merely after. That is the longest time called betwixt, for following the 13th hour becomes the bewitching  hours that fall between 3 and 5 am. 

If you can only imagine the sounds at that time of night.  Haven't you noticed that during a full or new moon those are the hours you awake from dreaming, or do you. Would you like to come and sit with me as I await those hours? ((Grinning)).  I can envision the whole scenario to that one. I have everything available you know, an owl, a fish, my very own toad, a nice black cat with a smile, a crystal ball and a collection of brooms befitting to all. I  am still awaiting the return of my friend who was across the pond that night. He may be in the next dimension by now or perhaps carried there by what comes after midnight. I am sure the editor thinks that I have fallen into some bin of wacky weeds that may be growing wildly along the ponds path, I am not so sure now that  it was wild asparagus but it was good whatever it was especially with  butter.

So now that I am approaching after midnight getting this article done, I must sum it up to close until the next moment of established brain patterns that bring me to the place of a  writers mind. 

After midnight is a simple time when a person comes to realistic views of what is and what isn't, or perhaps simply becomes numb to it all. What lays in the night's air is just as wonderful as that of the day. Except the night knows how to have silence and to rest from over expended energies that are all too often wasted. I prefer the night as it is my calm, my moments of tallying the  days interests into a consolidated form of perceptions that I can place in words  or art forms that take my soul to the dimension in which it truly  exists.
Confusing, not really, it is simply chilling out. Unless of course you are  my friend who has still not returned from the wherever  marathon.

But in reality one need only be afraid of what he believes is after midnight. Existing only in ones own thoughts. Take a moment to find a pond and spend the day and then if you dare, stay the night. Then come share your story with me and we will compare. Most of all, if you like crickets and toads and the  kewl night air then chance a moment with nature, eat marshmallows and dance naked under the moon and yell "whoo hooo, I don't  care".

Then you will understand that after midnight it is all  free game, for free spirits like me to roam the earth on moon beams and sing across  the night's air. Welcome to the midnight's  lair.