The profound darkness disturbed me when I got to Al Asad. At first I didn’t like it, as I stumbled around looking for my can in the blackness, but after awhile I got used to it. I liked the moonlight and the stars. I developed a muscle memory that got me easily home in the dark and walking home in the dark became a nice way to unwind at the end of the day.
Now they have installed a big light that pierces the darkness and shines in my eyes, making it hard to see the moon and the stars. Beyond that, the less you can actually see of Al Asad, the prettier you can imagine it to be. The stark chemical light against concrete barriers is not pleasant.
It is surprising how well you can learn to see in low light. I recall skiing at night in Norway and how that had a special magic. Al Asad is not like that, but I have learned to enjoy some aspects of the Iraqi night. Funny how things grow on you. At first you may dislike it; after awhile you accept it and then miss it when it is taken away. Walking home in the dark, I noticed the phases of the moon and the contours of the clouds dimly illuminated in the moonlight. On several occassions there was a haloed moon. Of course, I could see and enjoy the stars. This was good.