As Night Recedes
Here in the northern hemisphere, darkness is decreasing in its daily length. Light, like some rushing tide, is coming back strong, and signs of spring are fast emerging. For most of us today, artificial light keeps the night at bay and the darkness of winter is avoidable, lightbulbs blazing. But, it wasn’t so long ago that nighttime was an absolute fact, and the only remedy we had to answer this blindness was candle or lantern or hearth, and these could only offer puddles of light in an ocean of dark.
“Five hundred years ago, if you could have seen the earth from above, cities, towns, and villages would have appeared nearly as dark as the oak forests. Perhaps glints of light would have leaked through doorways and shuttered windows early in the evening, or a few lanterns would have bobbed down the lanes, but no streetlights would have shone. Within, candles and lamps no brighter than those of Roman times would have lit only a bowl of porridge, a book, a shirtsleeve in need of mending, another…. Such small light was precious and meted out sparingly. For much of the evening, people lay in their houses after dousing their cooking fires, sleeping and dreaming away the hours. If by chance on a clear, moonless night they stepped out of their intimate dark and looked up to the heavens, the stars would have been so many that ‘one could not have put a finger in between them.'” Jane Brox, Brilliant
With at least 30 percent of all vertebrates and more than 60 percent of all invertebrates worldwide nocturnal, and with many of the rest crepuscular… while most of us are inside and asleep, outside the night world is wide awake with matings, migrations, pollinations, and feeding—in short, the basic happenings that keep world biodiversity alive. Paul Bogard, The End of Night
Just one person out of 7 billion + on a journey to live a life that is vibrant, soul-fulfilling, useful to others, and consciously engaged with the ecological community that sustains all life, including mine and yours.