Our experience of the world changes radically at night, alone.
I had decided to go for a midnight stroll, and wanting to avoid the major highways, I went south-west. I had vague plans to roam some of the empty fields on OU's research campus.
The spartan cloud cover has rent open wounds far above me in the sky, wounds bleeding faint stars and unfamiliar constellations. Walking in the darkness, only an occasional intruding car sweeps by me, their headlights out of place like nervous laughter in the night.
I had spent the better part of a year working in this area, driving and riding along this very road, but I had never experienced it like this. Quieter, yes, but not quiet. Bugs, birds, and weird sounds floated from the vegetation that seemed at once barely held back by asphalt road. I ducked underneath a spiderweb. Perhaps this speaks to how scarcely I find myself outdoors at this time of night, but I felt alien here.
I come across a dark road off to my left. I peer down it, hoping to glean what might be the source of a lonely orange glow I see at the far end of it.
No dice- I must travel it to discover what's at the other end.
Crushing gravel underfoot, I'm acutely aware of every sound I make and every movement I take as I leave the strange familiarity of the main road behind. To either side, black trees leer at me. I can hear hisses off to my far left, in the distance. I continue walking towards the warm, orange light.
I stop and pause before the withered skeleton of a tree. Intellectually, I know it's a dead tree. But right now, sunk in the thick night, it looks like a claw reaching evilly for the faint stars overhead. I can't help myself: I pull out my flashlight and shine the light at it.
It is indeed a dead tree.
I redouble my efforts to reach the end of the road. I can see a building, the soft light I saw from so far away. A car. Questions bubble into my mind. What facility could this be? Why is it tucked away at the end of this road? Who might be there?
My line of sight clears the tree line. It is an apartment complex. I am bathed once more in the artificial day of a city, and the stars above have slipped away for the moment.
The spell is broken, but the weirdness of my nocturnal meander stays with me.
I continue on, making my way past the apartment buildings to circumvent the OUPD station off to the right on my way to the fields I was still contemplating.
Ah, but that building over there- so lonely, so tired looking. I must see what it is.
There is no way in, but on a hunch, I follow the chain link fence around.
If you guessed that this was a drainage ditch leading under the fence, you'd be right. Told you I was a little obsessed.
I'm afraid the pictures didn't come out terribly well in the darkness. I've been running into the limitations of my smartphone camera. It performs admirably when there's plenty of light around, but there is no way to adjust the shutter speed for low-light or nighttime pictures.
Anyway, I suddenly found myself in the middle of this large complex. Nearest I can tell, it was a combination recycling center, trash dump, heavy equipment storage, and Corix utilities facility.
After finding one of the large bay doors unlocked, I tried to slip inside. Unfortunately, the door must have been sealed shut somewhere I couldn't see- or perhaps old age had rusted it shut- but I couldn't find my way inside. Though I was able to peek inside some of the windows. My favorite- the tire hanging from the ceiling at the top of the photo below.
I'm afraid the weary worker hoping for a respite on their cigarette break won't have a very good view.
An unexpected but fun exploration. A quick hop of the fence and I was on my way back home.
Bonus: One of the only decent photos from another little exploration I did of an unfinished parking garage on Lindsey and Classen. The view is towards the OU campus.
Until the next time,
Dillon Dakota Carroll
...sees much and knows much