I have semi-regular evening classes or screenings just about every semester. It's not something I really enjoy, going back to campus after dinner when all I want to do is read to my kids and take a shower and write and watch television.
But the reward comes when the class or the film is over, and I walk out of the building into what's suddenly -- night. There's a cool blast of air when I open the door. As I descend the steps, I can't help but look up into the dark sky. After a moment of acclimation, stars appear.
The academic buildings may be empty, but gaggles of students roam the dormitory areas, the fitness center, the parking lots. Our faculty illusion of ownership over the campus is shattered at night.
I'm glad for the moment to walk in the glow of lamps and security lighting, and to breathe the night air. A settled middle-aged life means, among other things, that you're not out and about much at night. I'm not sure it compensates for hours spent at the office after normal working hours, but it's pretty nice nonetheless.