I live on an ordinary street but in the last week something strange happened. The glaring street lights were suddenly dimmed. Each lamp now only produces a tiny pool of light directly underneath. Darkness has descended, the houses and cars are wrapped in black mystery. The familiar landscape has disappeared and the scene is almost what it would have been before electric street lamps, so very dark. I have not yet been able to see the stars, I’m hoping that on a clear night I will see them twinkling in the black night sky.
I heard the British astronaut, Tim Peaks speaking in terms of wonder at his view of the small glittering planet earth in the huge blackness of space. I hope there will be some pictures soon on TV.
On the subject of twinkling lights our next door neighbour has put up Santa and his reindeer galloping across the garden complete with shooting stars and very pretty it looks too. Christmas is of course the time for putting up as many coloured lights as we can possibly manage; in the market place on the Christmas tree, in the living room and on the front of the house. It makes us feel cheerful and maybe we can enjoy acting like a child again. Darkness on the other hand can make us feel a little fearful, what is out there that we can’t see?
We in the affluent countries are extravagant with our use of electricity, almost regardless of cost. The short dark days of December would seem almost unbearable without our well light homes, yet it seems we cannot afford clean, renewable, green energy. A paradox of our times.