September 05, 2002

Heart of Darkness

Humility like darkness reveals the heavenly lights.
- Henry David Thoreau

How wonderfully still it is this early morning. The rush of the creek, the sound of a distant screech owl, my own breathing, no other sounds. The pasture is visible only in the way that its blackness is somehow different from the black of the forested ridges on either side. And up above and all around me, as my eyes adjust to the absence of light, is light: ancient, otherworldly, heavenly. My old friends, the constellations, like the seasonal flowers and garden vegetables, are right on time to mark the march of days into yet another Fall.

The procession of the constellations back into their winter places has begun. The Summer Triangle still appears overhead, but later to rise each night, and the Eagle (Aquilla) and Swan (Cygnus) appear to be migrating, along with their earthly brethren. It is dark enough to see the Northern Coal Sack, darkness upon darkness, that few city dwellers have ever seen.

But even here, in our remote place in the world, thirty miles from the nearest modest city, we don't have darkness like we used to. Light pollution is a world-wide problem, as you will see in this amazing satellite image. The world is a lighter place every year, and we are the poorer for it. Even our immune systems seem to need darkness in order to replenish our defenses against stress and disease, and the ubiquitous glow of the late-night television is perhaps enough to interfere with this natural health-maintenance mechanism.

I haven't spent as much time under the dark night sky as I used to. How about you? Maybe we would be the better for it if we would spend more time outside at night, so the stars could speak to us of eternity and the darkness make us whole again.

Posted by fred1st at September 5, 2002 06:43 AM | TrackBack
Comments

Nice articles in a few pages. Please post more, I will visit this site again soon.

Posted by: zip codes at September 6, 2003 04:08 AM

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