We’re five days post-Thanksgiving. Holiday lights are popping up around the neighborhood, making spirits bright. But now I wonder if they are making everything else bright too. Too bright.
I like the holiday lights, just like the next consumer, but I have limits.
Monday I was sitting in a crowded chiropractor’s office. To manage the longer than usual wait, and block the rock music blaring from the ceiling speakers and the soap opera dialog from the television on the wall, I meditated on the Christmas decor.
Softening my gaze on an gold-sprayed grass arrangement in front of the reception’s desk, I recalled learning that candlelit trees illuminated the cold, dark winter nights long ago – sweet.
Imagine a cabin in the German woods surrounded by several feet of snow. The only lights were from a fireplace and a lamp strategically placed.
That scene was the precursor to our lighted trees. Sweet little candlelit evergreens, which have now exploded into blinking LED-lit trees, glowing Ghostbuster Staypuft Marshmellow-size snowmen and scintillating Santas with reindeer and sleighs showing up too early in blazing lights on our rooftops.
We use enough outdoor holiday lights to melt the snow around them.
Yesterday I walked past three life-size , 3-D, PVC and LED wise men hovering over what I assumed to be Mary, Joseph and baby in the same plastic, overdone blue, purple and red LED lights.
What would Jesus do? What would the wise men say?
(Melchior: “Nice goin’, Balthazar – now we’re lost.” Balthazar: “Well, that LED angel looked like a star in the east.”)
We’re polluting a beautiful night sky with holiday lights.
Working with Audrey Fischer (Read Audrey’s dream to restore starry night sky) – a Chicago astronomer and advocate for starry skies – I’ve learned that our unnatural illumination is several times greater than a full moon. (Read more on wikipedia.)
I’m a lifetime fan of the Man in the Moon but I sleep better on dark sky nights. Don’t you?
As a nature lover, it concerns me that our bigger, better, stronger, longer-lasting ways are wrecking our home planet. Our over-use and waste eats away at earth, sea and sky. This almost makes me cry. Not weep, mind you, but just leak at bit around the orbs at our mindless wastefulness.
I bought ice cycle lights last year, knowing THIS year I would be in my own home and wanted to be ready to deck the halls – inside and out.
Not so fast, there Hoosiergirl.
I’m making a list of holiday lighting options and checking it twice. Rather than hang that ice from the aluminum siding, I might put little white lights in one tree, wrap garland around the two white pillars and call it a night.
I’ll sleep better knowing I’m adding but a couple of candle watts to the dark skies. Sleep better too because I’m keeping most of my holiday lights under a bushel basket.
From what I’m learning, it’s fine to put up lights but we need good LED lights. (The electrified version of good cholesterol vs bad.) They cut energy costs but burn holes in the dark sky. LEDs are higher on the blue spectrum, making them a major culprit for interrupting our circadian rhythms, destroying melatonin, affecting our sleep cycles. Holey Santa suit!
What’s your bright idea to keep the skies dark during the holidays? Lets shoot for the stars!