How to Travel by Night

The dark obscures everything and restricting one’s travel to only daylight hours can be limiting depending on latitude and season. To travel by night successfully you will need light, which you will not have much of. Endeavor to take your journey during the full moon or bring a torch.

Beware of torch blindness. You will see more clearly by it, but you will not be able to see as far. Beyond the light all else will appear far darker than it would have without it. Use a torch if you want to see the ground beneath your feet, do not use one if you want to see what is coming for you.

If you douse your torch and there is no moon to travel by, chin up. All is not lost. You are not lost, you can find your way: the stars will not deceive you. Look for Orion, easy to spot, you can trust it to rise in the east and set in the west. Find it by seeking the brightest stars, two of the ten brightest are in Orion.

Equidistant between these two bright stars are two more of the night’s most luminous, shaping two thirds of Orion’s belt. Find them. If you set out during the winter solstice, the three belt stars, two show offs and one modest, will rise precisely in the east at the moment of sunset, no matter where you are in the world. This is important if your journey takes you far afield, wretched in exile, alone in the dark. What have you done I wonder? During other months of the year Orion will rise at other times but still and always exactly east, you can depend on it, even during the summer solstice when he rises with the sun and the light of that great torch blinds us to his presence. He is there, trust me, just out of our vision along with so much else.