Night is dark

Really dark. You just can’t believe how vastly deeply inkly dark it is. I mean you may think it’s awfully dark in your basement when you turn out the lights and put blankets over the window, but that’s just twinkles compared to how dark it is when the power goes out. For your whole neighborhood.

It was a very eerie feeling – I mean, I was already tired from staying up to late finishing a half-dozen things from the day. But suddenly there’s this clunking sound, and something’s not right, and then silence. There was that half-second where my brain was telling me everything’s fine – I mean, I’m sitting here reading a webpage, and I can still read it on my laptop. And the light going out was probably cause it’s on a timer…

Oh, wait, the fishtank is off too, and it’s suddenly reeeealy dark. Look out the window – yup, everyone on my street, and the next street over, in both directions – no lights. Then I had to stumble around to find my cell phone to call the power company. (Yes, I am one of those people who calls in the power outages.) Luckily, I really like flashlights, so once I turned a couple on, it was kinda fun.

Of course, it’s not really that dark outside. Anyone who lives even vaguely close to the metro area in a developed country knows you can never find actual blackness outdoors anymore. The glow from Boston was still plenty to see my way around outside. I wonder: how much more light pollution do we have today versus 20 or 30 years ago? Besides just population density, are we overall doing better or worse at excess lights in the sky these days? I can’t tell if the fondness of seeing the stars long ago is just happy memories from childhood, or if there’s a real difference in how many are visible in the night sky now.

Murphy came through, as he often does; the power turned on just as I was completing the automated “report your location out” call. Sigh. I didn’t even get the good doobie feeling for getting to report it.

2 thoughts on “Night is dark

  1. When you come to visit us in Minnesota in the winter, I promise that we can show you actual dark if you come up to the lake. It’s amazing how many more stars you can see up there.

    I’ve been meaning to use my cool telescope there for a couple of years now, but the problem is that in the summer, it doesn’t get really dark until 10pm (4th of July fireworks normally start around 10:15). In the winter, it’s dark around 4:30, but it’s too damn cold to want to stand outside crouched around a telescope.

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