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:

  1. 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.
  2. Shield outdoor fixtures so light is directed only downward.
  3. Use motion detector lights instead of floodlights.
  4. 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 day.

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 sky!

E MacLean 2007

Kahshe Lake Ratepayers' Association (1994) Inc. (KLRA)
PO Box 1318, Gravenhurst, ON, Canada, P1P 1V5
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