Sirens at Night

You hear them all the time. 

It doesn’t mean much. Just the background. The ordinary sounds of the night.  Like the breeze and the rain and the crickets in the old days. 

You hear them and maybe you think, that’s someone else’s problem.

Someone else in trouble. Hurt or sick, robbed or smashed. Thank god it’s not my problem. 

Or you think: someone else has to go deal with it.

This late. In the dark. You know how it is. Every step on the sidewalk exposed by the street lights and the signs. Breathing air filled with the smell of smoldering fires.

Passing hostile shadows, on the corner, in the road, in the doorway, doing nothing, hiding something, you can’t tell what. Or waiting. 

Or you think they are coming for you.

And you know why. And you are watchful, alert all the time, because you know someone knows, or they might find out, and make a deal, or be a good citizen, or get revenge, or be an idiot, and you just have to get through this, you think, and then you breathe deep and let your heart settle down, as the sound races past you, moves on into the night, and fades and fades and fades, to nothing. 

Or you want them to come.

You called. You told them what was happening. You begged them to hurry. The voice on the other end took the information. They know where you are. Don’t they?  

Maybe they will come.

The sound fades. It’s over.  

People feel alone.

People feel like no one is coming: There is no one to come. They are busy. They are discouraged. They are defunded. They are spread too thin. They think, this is not the way it used to be.  

But we are here. All of us. 

When we discover this, our world will change. The landscape will be different. The sounds of the night will be different, and they will signify something very old and very new. 


 Read True Karate Dō the groundbreaking new book by Jeffrey Brooks:

“One of the best books I’ve read in years, inviting and compelling. Jeff Brooks moves effortlessly from martial arts to Buddhism to consciousness studies, self-transformation, and related fields in this wide-ranging and Illuminating study that has much to offer both novice explorers and veteran practitioners. A splendid achievement.” 

— Philip Zaleski, Editor, The Best Spiritual Writing series

— Co-author, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams.      

Post and video Copyright © 2023 by Jeffrey Brooks, Yamabayashi Ryu, Hendersonville-Columbus area, Saluda, NC Featured image by Harry Gillen via Unsplash

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