Savoring Darkness

Here’s a fun “low-footprint” tip — recycled from a Facebook memory that popped up on my timeline today. Do you ever do this?

Sweeten your life, and save on your electric bill*, by instituting a “dark night” in your household once a week (or as often as you like). Turn off the lights and go out and sit on the porch, or take walks under the stars. One of my favorite things to do, if no friends or family are nearby, is use the dark hours for chatting with friends on the phone. After all, you don’t need light to speak on the phone, do you! (Of course if you go the phone route, it’s not a completely electricity-free night, since you will use electricity to charge your phone, but it’s still a cool thrifty thing, saving on electric light and appreciating the beauties of the darkness.) It’s very pleasant to chat on the phone in the dark (sitting on the porch or balcony, on the beach, sitting by the river, walking around the block, etc.). If you have kids, make the lights-out night a fun experience by playing hide-and-seek in the yard or empty lot, watching fireflies, pretending to be explorers, and all those other wonderful things we used to do at night as kids back in the “old days”. Or even do this if you DON’T have kids. We should all encourage our inner kid; that inner kid knows what makes us come alive and is always trying to nudge us in that direction.

*Unless you are using a lot of high-wattage bulbs in your house, and keep many lights on, cutting your use of electric lighting probably won’t make a huge difference in your bill. But it can definitely save you a few bucks. More significant benefits of a “Dark Night” habit, in my opinion, are the beauty you get to experience, as well as the expanded possibilities for quality conversation with friends, family, and neighbors. Possibly even more important for a lot of people, there’s the sense of security you get when you realize it’s no big deal doing without lights. Emotional peace of mind is a major component of personal and household resilience, and I recommend taking every opportunity to cultivate that peace of mind. Learning to not only endure, but actually enjoy, being without lights and electricity for even a few hours is a great milestone for some of us who have never lived without all the modern conveniences.