Embrace the Night
In today’s world, we spend most of the year living in a city
or town and therefore we are so used to the presence of artificial light almost
constantly day and night, inside and outside, that we do not even think about
it. When we get to the cottage, we
unthinkingly continue this pattern. We are certainly not used to living with
darkness outside and tend to feel insecure or even afraid in the dark.
But we all want to duplicate the magical cottage life of our
parents and grandparents and definitely part of that outdoor magic was “living
in the dark!” There were no outside
lights - maybe a small flashlight on that trip to the outhouse - and lots of
games to play outside in the dark.
Let us try embracing the night by helping our
children get used to natural darkness - night walks, listening games, tag by
sound, star watching. The Guides and Scouts have several suggestions on line:
Zap. Seekers, Nightlines, Sardines, Night Trek are just a few possibilities.
The benefits are many - building skills and confidence,
natural life for the animals, financial savings, and family memories.
The following are some suggestions to help if outdoor
lighting is really necessary:
- Use solar lights
or compact fluorescents, or choose energy efficient low pressure sodium lights
which cast a slightly yellowish glow, produce little or no glare and few dark
patches where someone can hide.
- Shield outdoor fixtures so light is directed only
- Use motion detector lights instead of floodlights.
- Keep all outside lights off whenever possible. Our outside nocturnal wildlife neighbours can
operate better in their natural state of darkness at night and light during the
When we all switch to appropriate or, even better,
no lighting outside, the budding astronomers on the lake will be able to
point their telescopes towards the Torrance Barrens and see the wonders of the
E MacLean 2007