Tired? Try getting a little darkness back into your life! I believe we in the electric world need to recover the night and the soothing calm of darkness – and overcome fear at the same time.
Stars in the night sky (not my pic - apologies to photographer)
I really believe we need to get back in touch with nature and the night sky, with the rhythms of the days and seasons – and most of all, we need to give our eyes a rest – and thus give our brains a rest!
When did you last spend time in the dark, other than sleeping? It is wonderful, soothing and beautiful – and rarely pitch black. There is in fact much to see, its just that it is never normally seen.
Last night I took Rachel outside, into the garden. To her surprise (there is no clue of it when inside the house) the sky was littered with bright stars. The plough and north star very prominent but to the south we were dazzled by the beam from the lighthouse. Around about the individual houses of neighbours shed light too and far off, over the hill, the glow of the Flotta gas flare and street lights gave an ominous orange throbbing from the ground upwards, reminiscent of burning towns during the blitz (I guess). It is far from dark. I can watch the darker grey of clouds shifting slowely across from the west. I can see the stone walls white, then mere shadows, depending upon if the lighthouse beam hits them. Off across the fields a neighbours diesel generator is the biggest intrusion. The air is chilly, the grass wet with dew. The sea laps gently upon the shingle beach. The air is clean and fresh, infusing my lungs with the coolness of moist air. Delightful!
“We”/ society, generally now live in perpetual light and brightness, extending the day with electric lights to the point where we fear the dark. We then bombard our visual senses still further with car headlights, televisions and computer screens! It is exhausting, and stressful.
Lets reclaim the night, turn down the lights, turn off the tv and feel the stress slip away into the dark. Let your eyes open once more, explore the subtle and the previously unseen, delight in the stars, the moon, clouds and aurora. Last night we watched shooting stars and the shimmering light of a ship out on the bay. The cattle were munching across the meadow, birds were hopping about the walls. The clouds tumbled effortlessly across the sky, shrouding the hills and sea.
Needless to say, but I will, my other senses delight in being allowed to operate once more, after the loud noises, strong smells and bright lights have diminished. The warm breeze caressed my arms making my hairs stand on end, the air tasted salty – I was delighted to be awake, alive and free!
Give yourself time to become sleepy, put out the lights, or return to the warmth and gentle glow of candles. Try it! Just 10 minutes each night – let the natural world flood back into your life, and feel the benefits. It will also reduce your energy bill and carbon emissions.
Just imagine the endless barage of stimuli your eyes and brain are getting – from first waking to last thing at night. No wonder we are exhausted! No wonder it is hard to enjoy the subtle beauty of nature. We have pollution overload! We are shielding our senses from the full onslaught of brightness and information to be processed. I say, take a break! Give your eyes a holiday, a well earned rest, and feed your brain gentle images to calm the wave patterns and still the mind.
Dare to walk at night, in garden or lane. Try it without a torch even and be amazed!
If you cannot escape the pollution of streetlights, cars and houses, I feel for you – but I suggest you try all the more to experience a little less eye stimulation. Begin by turning off the lights in your house. Go for a walk in nature, exposing yourself gradually to the gentle light of night time. Put your torch in a bag or pocket. Save it for later. Try candles, and try just letting your eyes relax. Most important of all, give the television and computer a rest!
I promise you – life will be better if you trust your other senses. Even a walk under the orange glare of street lights is preferable to the retina burning brightness of indoors, the dazzle of car headlights, the intrusion of security spotlights.
The best books about stars in the night sky and Natural Navigation