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Redesigning Darkness: How Humans Shaped Light

Oct 29, 2011

by Chappell Ellison

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

We’ve all felt our pace quicken as we navigate the dark alone, spurred by the eerie feeling of being watched. Since the dawn of time, humans have feared the darkness and the dangers it hides — the invention of the light bulb diminished this fear, but will never truly banish it. The absence found in darkness causes us to see and fear what isn’t there — a pair of red, demonic eyes, a crouching predator, or maybe even a ghost-like apparition. For some, the fear is linked to childhood — lurking behind a pair of closet doors or under the bed. For the rest of us, a late night walk in the dark will always be harrowing.

For centuries, there was no greater threat to human survival than the darkness of night. The enemies it concealed, from scheming bandits to treacherous rocky paths, were palpable — a mere misstep on an uneven roadway during nighttime travel could result in a broken ankle, a serious and potentially fatal injury in ancient times. For that reason, many of the world’s most ancient roads were cut to follow the Milky Way, providing a guiding light for travelers. While torches were the first portable lights, the Medieval era saw people experimenting with lanterns. Hollowed-out turnips were filled with oil and lit, resulting in a softly glowing lantern, made possible by the translucent walls of the starchy root vegetable. As people became more curious and brave, they desired to travel to unfamiliar lands past the town where they were born. City officials often posted public bulletins that informed citizens of the phases of the moon, an important factor when planning a trip.

Tillett Lighting Design + Gans Studio

Left: A hollowed-out turnip lamp; Right: Piles of chalk illuminating a road.

Each corner of the world had its own lighting solution: in Southeast Asia, it’s fireflies — late night travelers grew accustomed to paralleling the embankment of rivers, delineated by lightning bugs that congregate in the bends of the waterway. In ancient Britain, piles of chalk dotted the edges of the roads, reflecting the moonlight to produce a soft white glow. In the Mediterranean, rock cliffs were also dusted with chalk, a pre-lighthouse warning system for boats. Such a surface treatment is still found in Greece today, in addition to tree trunks painted a reflective white, another trick from the days of yore.

So much of our relationship with light has been forgotten or obfuscated over the years. Gilding, for example, so often written into history as an ornate, decorative finish that symbolized wealth, was also a means of illuminating a room through reflection of candlelight. “People really think that they see light, but they don’t — they see reflected light,” explains lighting designer and environmental psychologist Linnaea Tillett, who spent three years experimenting with urban lighting in East New York. By the time gas-lit lampposts covered our cities, the memory of our struggles with light began to fade. With the invention of the light bulb, they all but vanished.


Tillett Lighting Design + Gans Studio

Photovoltaic thread woven into a fence to produce a glowing social space.

“We expect light, we insist upon it,” says Tillett, acknowledging the drug-like power light now has over civilization. Along with fellow designer Deborah Gans, Tillet participated in New York City’s Urban Design Week last September, where she was charged with proposing newer and better ways of illuminating the city. Tillett and Gans’s proposal was unexpected. “We suggest that perhaps it is time to relieve the lamp post of some (but not all) of its burdens and reconsider the lantern and the virtues of amplifying what exists,” reads the main thesis of their proposal. The challenges and processes of historical travelers were reexamined as Tillett and Gans exhibited several city-wide lighting installations. Chalk, for instance, could be reclaimed once more as a reflective material, a perfect addition to vacant lots that need illumination. Much like the tree trunks in Greece, the underside of bridges and elevated train tracks can be painted white, a psychological shift that transforms a threatening piece of infrastructure into a warm threshold.

Now that we can banish darkness with the flip of a switch, Tillett and Gans propose we embrace our newfound bravery and establish social spaces within the nighttime urban landscape. Reflective, seasonal art installations reinvigorate dark alleys, while photovoltaic thread can be woven into fences, emanating light to indicate an area for unexpected social interaction. At the most playful end of the spectrum, performers dressed in light-emitting costumes become “animated beacons,” further quelling the fear of darkness in the crowds that gather to watch.

Bat Yam Biennale + Kamworks

Left: Lantern hanging from a construction crane. Right: Children holding MoonLights.

Such ideas might seem out of the ordinary, but much like our early experiences with turnips and chalk, cities across the world are exploring alternative methods of lighting. A personal favorite is found in Bat-Yam, Israel, where lighting designers converted a construction crane into an over-sized chandelier, through adorning it with a suspended lantern. Such an experiment could be a solution for lighting inactive constructions areas, a headache felt by all city planners. Elsewhere in developing nations, the grid is skipped altogether; in Cambodia, children delight over their personal moons — portable, solar power lanterns that provide a sense of ownership and safety.

Yet can we really start turning off city lights, ripping out the standard cobrahead lamps that guard our streets, in a rebellion against our electrical obsession? Tillet says that it’s not about less, it’s about making more with what we already have. “I’m not about turning things off. It’s unpacking how things work now and making gestures where it really counts. If we turn off every third streetlight, people are going to panic. But if we turn down every light by 25% and apply reflective materials to surrounding surfaces, we’ve created better light with less energy.” Rather than producing more light, refocusing our efforts on exploring reflective materials is a much more holistic approach to lighting — giving our eyes a chance to return to much more natural light that’s far healthier than what comes out of our televisions and iPads. The light bulb isn’t that old after all. “Over 99% of human history lived without it,” says Tillett. “The Greeks wrote, studied, and conquered so much of the world without it. Now, it’s about a gentle touch, a more thoughtful approach.”

Even now, many of us walk around with our portable lanterns — a cell phone becomes a flashlight when searching for a pair of lost car keys or when signaling to friends in the darkness of a movie theater. Maybe we can one day find a better balance, harnessing light in a much more efficient and natural manner. So what is the best lighting solution? Tillett says without hesitation, “The safest thing you can have is eyes on the street, not lighting.”

Lighting Category

4 Featured Comments

  • 108ways

    108ways said 6 years ago Featured

    Handmade, human-scale lighting is so beautiful ... I use beeswax birthday candles in a little handmade candelabra as the only light in my bedroom. They burn about 10 minutes, just long enough to light my bedtime meditation and ease me gently toward sleep. Animals are drawn to this light too – I often see tiny frogs standing on my window glass, looking in. On the other hand, darkness is beautiful too and these days it is so rare ... almost impossible to find any place on earth that is not contaminated with artificial light. For millions of years our ancestors lived with long periods of uninterrupted darkness where all they could really do was slow down, rest, and wait for the light to return -- and our bodies still need darkness as well as light to be truly healthy. Balance is the key, I guess ... Anyway, thanks for an interesting read.

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat said 6 years ago Featured

    I live ina rural area with the nearest street lighting several miles away... you just get used to carrying a torch & once your eyes get used to it unless there's no moon & heavy cloud it's actually not all that dark! We get a lot of tourists in my area & it's always so sad for me to hear them say they've never seen the stars like they can here. Not to mention the fact that most of them have never seen any of the wildlife we take for granted... foxes, badgers, bats, owls, hedgehogs, toads. I think when folks live in a well lit city they lose their appreciation of the warm, velvety darkness to be experienced in the country. I've taken people on "mini wildlife safaris" (aka sitting very still at night in my garden to see what turns up) & some of them get really freaked out by all the rustlings in the undergrowth or the grunting of feeding hedgehogs or badgers & the squeaking of shrews... there are even some folks who still believe bats get caught in your hair!

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 6 years ago Featured

    In the UK they're having to turn the lights out due to budget constraints, light simply isn't affordable anymore. I don't see why streetlights cant be solar powered coming on when its dark enough for them to automatically detect light levels.

  • TheLaughingLlama

    TheLaughingLlama said 6 years ago Featured

    Thank-you for this wonderful post...very spiritual! It seems as if we stay in darkness for awhile will help us discover more light. I am a huge fan of lanterns and own a few myself. I always adored the romantic times of the 1800's with lanterns and gas lamps.

90 comments

  • Lolavintage

    Lolavintage said 6 years ago

    Love the idea of portable moons! My dad always had many kerosene lamps when we were growing up, and I have so many nice memories of shutting off the lights on some weekends and doing my reading or writing my the light of those calming lamps.

  • TheWishingWardrobe

    TheWishingWardrobe said 6 years ago

    What a magical world we live in! We have come so far in providing light for ourselves...as i struggle to type in the dark it occurs to me that we are getting better at shedding light, too. This has given me lots of ideas for my Dia De Los Muertos garb to be worn during the procession here in Tucson. . http://www.allsoulsprocession.org/

  • TheWishingWardrobe

    TheWishingWardrobe said 6 years ago

    There are some great ideas for my Dia De Los Muertos garb during the All Souls procession here in Tucson...Thanks!

  • VintageEye

    VintageEye said 6 years ago

    Human ingenuity applied to almost any situation makes a huge impact. Now to be more mindful of what kind of impact--- that needs to be the focus. Such imaginative & practical ideas presented here. Thanks!

  • SneakyPoodle

    SneakyPoodle said 6 years ago

    What an interesting post. As you continue to explore the art and culture of light, I encourage you to check out Polebridge, Montana - a town that will definitely take you back to the days before man-made light. My husband and I stumbled across it on a cross country road trip. Best , ~SneakyPoodle Polebridge – At the heart of the Flathead’s “North Fork” just a mile from Glacier Park’s northwest entrance, the unique community of Polebridge offers no traffic lights, no crowds, no electricity, no hassles. There is the Polebridge Mercantile, Northern Lights Saloon, a variety of rental cabins, and a host of great characters and events to enjoy throughout the year.

  • ohbabydotcom

    ohbabydotcom said 6 years ago

    What a wonderful post! Love the lighting and such creativity : )

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 6 years ago

    Cutting roads to follow the Milky Way and posting bulletins with the phases of the moon - interesting. Thanks for the history lesson. Living in an urban area I've never really thought of a life without plenty of light.

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 6 years ago

    Love this article!

  • volkerwandering

    volkerwandering said 6 years ago

    Great article!

  • isewcute

    isewcute said 6 years ago

    Interesting post!

  • peshka

    peshka said 6 years ago

    Lovely !!

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 6 years ago

    Great read! ..vibrant light shots!

  • TarasArtHouse

    TarasArtHouse said 6 years ago

    Love the main image, gorgeous shot

  • HoneysuckleLane

    HoneysuckleLane said 6 years ago

    Interesting post! I enjoyed reading about the road cut to follow the Milky Way as well all the other solutions over time to have light sources at night.

  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie said 6 years ago

    There is something just so magical about it! =)

  • cosmicheart

    cosmicheart said 6 years ago

    Thanks for the history of light. I had never heard any of the history of light before and it was really interesting. I think that anybody who goes out into an area without light reflection like the desert will be amazed at the stars that are always around us in the night sky. We can't see them because of all the reflected light. Once you see what is really out there it is amazing.

  • HumphreysHandmade

    HumphreysHandmade said 6 years ago

    The ginormo crane lantern-thingy is awesomesauce.

  • Colettesboutique

    Colettesboutique said 6 years ago

    What a interesting post! I just love all the the lighting options featured.

  • ellauniverse

    ellauniverse said 6 years ago

    Lovely!!

  • RossLab

    RossLab said 6 years ago

    Turnip lanters is something I'd like to try. It's a fun way to repurpose a vegetable I really can't eat :S

  • fiera2

    fiera2 said 6 years ago

    This article reminded me of my visits to northern Canada throughout my childhood where there were no street lights lining the roads, so when the sun went down you would instinctively gravitate towards the cottage, which shone like a warm friendly face in the encroaching darkness. With this complete darkness, however, came a wonderful gift: the stars. As a kid, I remember being awestruck by the beauty of the night sky; there were just SO many stars! And they had this intoxicating way of making you feel small but alive, like seeing long lost relatives and instantly understanding that you all belong together. Eventually my entire family came outside, turned off the porch light, and stood with me pointing out constellations, hugging each other for warmth because we didn't want to go back inside just yet. It was the lack of artificial light that brought us together in the dark. Thanks for rekindling the memory.

  • BanglewoodSupplies

    BanglewoodSupplies said 6 years ago

    I love this article it reminds me of my childhood. I remember when we would catch lightning bugs...oh how fascinated we were. Thanks for sharing.

  • scandivintage

    scandivintage said 6 years ago

    This is one of the most interesting articles I've read on Etsy. Thank you! :) I am battling a fear of darkness, on the one hand, and trying to keep electric light to a minimun on the other (for the sake of the cost, both monetary and environmentally). In Sweden we now enter the darkest time of the year, soon it'll be light for only a few hours a day, perhaps from 8 til one in the afternoon. To cope, I switch into a Christmas mood early and automatically - I love the cozy lights of Christmas.

  • Iknitoo

    Iknitoo said 6 years ago

    This blog post, beautifully written and very informative, brings to mind power outages both recent and in my past. Experiencing a power outage can be very inconvenient and when the dark arrives, even a bit scary. We can be without electricity for a few hours or sometimes, a few days. In the past I would scurry around and find all the candles, the lanterns, the battery powered radio. With the children we would carry on with whatever light could be established. The wood stove would cook meals, the well would be tapped for water. But what I remember the most is being without light. We would focus on what we could see and at night go outside to the theater of the stars. If there was snow on the ground, it provided a blanket of light. We became a storybook. Imagination took hold and the darkness was the author.

  • NadinArtGlass

    NadinArtGlass said 6 years ago

    Great! Love this article!

  • bedouin

    bedouin said 6 years ago

    Interesting article ~ I like low lighting warm colors, and colorful bulbs. I'm loving all of the mason jar designs here on etsy.

  • HoneyThistle

    HoneyThistle said 6 years ago

    turnip lamps sound wonderful, as do firefly lights. I really like the idea of doing more with less, efficiency in allocating our current resources is a factor that can really impact our current footprint on future viability.

  • fowlpleasures

    fowlpleasures said 6 years ago

    great article, I loved the turnip light, so many ways to go, Wow!

  • orchardfarmsoap

    orchardfarmsoap said 6 years ago

    really beautiful article! thank you for sharing this history of light

  • aressa

    aressa said 6 years ago

    Nice article....I think we have forgotten a lot of things throughout the years....

  • thevintagethread

    thevintagethread said 6 years ago

    awesome article, love the concept!

  • boxofsparkles

    boxofsparkles said 6 years ago

    I truly enjoyed this article! I loved reading about how people created light for themselves in the past, I can definately appreciate the thought that went into cutting roads to follow the path of the milky way. I love that people used to put so much thought and effort into everything they did in the old days. No smart phones to figure it all out for them. I think I am the only person between my group of friends and co-workers who still doesn't own a smart phone(or have a facebook account for that matter)...and I like it that way. Go old-school!

  • BrittneyWest

    BrittneyWest said 6 years ago

    What a beautiful article with wonderful photos! Thanks for sharing! "Let the beauty of what you love be what you do."--Rumi

  • couldbeeyours

    couldbeeyours said 6 years ago

    Great article! The top photo is amazing :)

  • GNCcreations

    GNCcreations said 6 years ago

    WISH WE COULD ALL LEARN FROM THIS ARTICLE AND USE WHAT WAS GIVEN TO US

  • alterdelenda

    alterdelenda said 6 years ago

    This was an absolutely fantastic read. Very interesting thoughts are presented here.

  • Daniblu

    Daniblu said 6 years ago

    Whoao! just serching for a name of a particular seed my mom gave me to make a necklace and found out is a seed named Kukui nuts from Hawaii . the candlenut tree (Aleurites molucanna) is native to Asia, it has been spread by people throughout the tropical Pacific because its seeds are rich in oil. The valuable oil expressed from seeds is used as a light source. We are connected in so many ways thanks. I probably will change my inspiration to something more transcendental. Love..Love.. all the pictures!! Thanks for sharing.

  • 108ways

    108ways said 6 years ago Featured

    Handmade, human-scale lighting is so beautiful ... I use beeswax birthday candles in a little handmade candelabra as the only light in my bedroom. They burn about 10 minutes, just long enough to light my bedtime meditation and ease me gently toward sleep. Animals are drawn to this light too – I often see tiny frogs standing on my window glass, looking in. On the other hand, darkness is beautiful too and these days it is so rare ... almost impossible to find any place on earth that is not contaminated with artificial light. For millions of years our ancestors lived with long periods of uninterrupted darkness where all they could really do was slow down, rest, and wait for the light to return -- and our bodies still need darkness as well as light to be truly healthy. Balance is the key, I guess ... Anyway, thanks for an interesting read.

  • indulgeyourwhimsy

    indulgeyourwhimsy said 6 years ago

    Neat article! Fascinating and informative; I love it! I now have this overwhelming desire to make a turnip lantern...

  • riverstar

    riverstar said 6 years ago

    We lived in the countryside a few years ago where there were no street lights. It was such a wonderful experience to see the stars and the great Milkey way path across the sky at night. We are missing our natural view of the wonderful elements of natural light. Maybe we could celebrate an evening once a season of candlelight to remember the simplicity of our earlier days.

  • PattiTrostle

    PattiTrostle said 6 years ago

    Great article!

  • johnnylopov

    johnnylopov said 6 years ago

    Imagine trying to live without lights. Great article, makes you think.

  • 8muddyfeet

    8muddyfeet said 6 years ago

    Love the article. All I can think of is: 'I see the light'

  • Ringlebee

    Ringlebee said 6 years ago

    Thank you for including my image as the main one :)

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 6 years ago

    Great article on light! Very interesting!

  • Jackphelpsstudio

    Jackphelpsstudio said 6 years ago

    Great article!

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat said 6 years ago Featured

    I live ina rural area with the nearest street lighting several miles away... you just get used to carrying a torch & once your eyes get used to it unless there's no moon & heavy cloud it's actually not all that dark! We get a lot of tourists in my area & it's always so sad for me to hear them say they've never seen the stars like they can here. Not to mention the fact that most of them have never seen any of the wildlife we take for granted... foxes, badgers, bats, owls, hedgehogs, toads. I think when folks live in a well lit city they lose their appreciation of the warm, velvety darkness to be experienced in the country. I've taken people on "mini wildlife safaris" (aka sitting very still at night in my garden to see what turns up) & some of them get really freaked out by all the rustlings in the undergrowth or the grunting of feeding hedgehogs or badgers & the squeaking of shrews... there are even some folks who still believe bats get caught in your hair!

  • LARaised

    LARaised said 6 years ago

    such a lovely article! I really couldn't stop reading. Thanks!

  • andygill01

    andygill01 said 6 years ago

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  • MissHildebrandt

    MissHildebrandt said 6 years ago

    (above) How about WHITE face masks to wear while surrounded by night?? Now THAT is a holistic approach! Anyways, LOVE where this article took me. The less light we rely on (I always thought) the better our eyes will be in the dark. I plan to dig a little deeper with this, thank you!

  • SonorranPugLover

    SonorranPugLover said 6 years ago

    I find your article intriguing and open for a world of possibilities and solutions when one thinks outside the box. I really enjoyed your writing style and the message you impart.

  • NaturalPetProducts

    NaturalPetProducts said 6 years ago

    LOVE all the creative lights/lighting here & throughout Esty shops!! TY

  • jiggyjewels

    jiggyjewels said 6 years ago

    What a well written and informative article. I loved seeing the fireflys in the jar. It reminded me of living in Chicago and collecting them myself with my sisters when we were litte - such a great memory and thanks for stirring that emotion inside me again. Such a beautiful moment. Thanks for the article.

  • LetterParade

    LetterParade said 6 years ago

    Here's an ingenious project of natural light that has helped lots of people in third world countries. Take a look: http://isanglitrongliwanag.org/ (One Liter of Light)

  • PrettyPatriots

    PrettyPatriots said 6 years ago

    Beautifully written and wonderful topic. So much of what we do is bringing light to the darkness that's all around us. What better idea then doing so with a little less energy!

  • briannalamar

    briannalamar said 6 years ago

    great article...and yes, a very good point that natural light is always reflected! Whereas with our digital devices we are looking into a light beam, which normally is not something we do, our eyes look away. I realized the other day I have to be on the computer less, as I was observing how much light it emits in my dark room, because it drains me and doesn't feel good....i even feel like it ages me!:( (Like flourescent lighting, yuck) So i'm looking for ways to moderate that better, and I turned the brightness of the screen all the way down. Maybe someday we will have devices that we can use that are designed better for our eyes. Although even still i think its better not to spend too much of your life "plugged in". Enjoyed the creative ideas....nice article:)

  • torik2009

    torik2009 said 6 years ago

    LOVE this article!! So many interesting facts! :)

  • elleestpetite

    elleestpetite said 6 years ago

    Love the idea of a lantern filled with fireflies. I bet it's real pretty to look at.

  • TurkishArtifacts

    TurkishArtifacts said 6 years ago

    Meaningful and helpful article for Meerschaum Pipes! Thank you for pictures, they are so imaginative!

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 6 years ago Featured

    In the UK they're having to turn the lights out due to budget constraints, light simply isn't affordable anymore. I don't see why streetlights cant be solar powered coming on when its dark enough for them to automatically detect light levels.

  • SillyHorse

    SillyHorse said 6 years ago

    thanks for such a thought provoking article. The contrast between darkness and a soft candle light glow is a beautiful way to relax and take time for reflection. Iknitoo, what you say is so evocative - makes me think of the richness of experiences a simpler life style would offer.

  • Unseelienchantments

    Unseelienchantments said 6 years ago

    thank you for sharing this!

  • Mclovebuddy

    Mclovebuddy said 6 years ago

    love this. for some reason this article reminds me of leonardo da vinci's work and his extensive use of his gorgeous shading - chiaroscuro (light and dark/obscure) - how he was able to effectively communicate highly complex and deep compositions with that. things would have been different if he had not had the candlelight by which he often worked with reflective back surfaces to have more light bounced on to his subject/s.

  • TheLaughingLlama

    TheLaughingLlama said 6 years ago Featured

    Thank-you for this wonderful post...very spiritual! It seems as if we stay in darkness for awhile will help us discover more light. I am a huge fan of lanterns and own a few myself. I always adored the romantic times of the 1800's with lanterns and gas lamps.

  • PersonalizedGiftsbyJ

    PersonalizedGiftsbyJ said 6 years ago

    Very interesting

  • GemBijouterie

    GemBijouterie said 6 years ago

    You have hit upon a favorite subject, and handled it so well, informatively. It is somewhat alarming when the electric goes off, but after one adjusts a little the eyes allow in so much more! Shades of Pendar, the Greek poet and his light inside the cave come to mind, as does those starry nights where I gaze up to see what new occurs in the night sky.

  • BeCharmedDesigns

    BeCharmedDesigns said 6 years ago

    Wonderful article. Thank you.

  • FreakyPeas

    FreakyPeas said 6 years ago

    take me out of the city!

  • YourVintageHouse

    YourVintageHouse said 6 years ago

    So cool! I hate light pollution! I think a much larger problem than we realize.

  • melsumn1

    melsumn1 said 6 years ago

    Enjoyed your writing. Really felt in tune with the words of light and dark. Thank you

  • Tina669

    Tina669 said 6 years ago

    Great article on light! Very interesting!

  • RedFernVintage

    RedFernVintage said 6 years ago

    Love the firefly photo, reminds me of so much gone by...

  • kerrdelune

    kerrdelune said 6 years ago

    Lighting a beeswax at sunrise and at sunset is how I bookend my day, no matter how busy that day is to be or has already been - it is my way of honoring natural and creative cycles.

  • nehavohra

    nehavohra said 6 years ago

    Nice article !

  • CindyEllison

    CindyEllison said 6 years ago

    I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this wonderful article! I learned so much from it and want to learn more. Thank you so much and I am fortunate that I stumpled across it this morning.

  • busybodybelle

    busybodybelle said 6 years ago

    What an interesting article. Darkness is the absence of light.... I learned something when I read about dusting the clifts with chalk as a warning to passing ships. Some great reads.

  • AzaferraJewelry

    AzaferraJewelry said 6 years ago

    Very interesting article! Reminds me of when I was a kid, and parents went to the south for vacation. No roadside lights, only crickets and mosquitoes. I hated it! Funny how now it has turned into a beautiful memory! Interesting too what human minds can conceive when they don't have technology to depend on. The use of chalk was awesome!

  • BellaandtheMermaid

    BellaandtheMermaid said 6 years ago

    Thanks for the interesting read. Love the history about lighting and I also loved the turnip light! How very clever:-)

  • SusanJArt

    SusanJArt said 6 years ago

    Our neighborhood has very little street lighting, so during my evening strolls I love stopping to watch the night sky with all its illuminations. Stories unfold in the constellations, distant worlds appear in our Galaxy and a sense of belonging to a greater presence shines down on me. All this right at my door.

  • mtraub

    mtraub said 6 years ago

    This past summer I found myself driving across the state of Wyoming in the dead of night. I swore our rear view mirror was painted black.

  • chicagobuck

    chicagobuck said 6 years ago

    Fascinating article! Thank you! The world needs more ambient lighting! My lamps are inspired by nature... and made from wire and rubber.

  • FizixVixen86

    FizixVixen86 said 6 years ago

    The only time I was unfortunate enough to live in a truly light-polluted area was during my 4 years as an undergrad. At my parents' house 20 miles away, I could always see the stars if it wasn't overcast. But now I'm in PA, over 600 miles from where I grew up... and I'm realizing that even the small city I grew up in had enormous amounts of light pollution... I see so many stars now that I almost can't distinguish my favorite constellations. (That's kind of a lonely feeling too... but I'll never complain that there are too many lovely stars... and the magnificent, glorious Moon!) I myself am a little timid in the dark, but I that's nothing a few well-placed candles can't cure! :)

  • kgraceart

    kgraceart said 6 years ago

    I literally had to move to a place that had less light at night - it was making me sick and I developed photophobia - and I'm so happy when it's dark. There's such a magic and relief in darkness, and the body likes it so much better. What a great article, thank you.

  • lilworkerb

    lilworkerb said 6 years ago

    Oh wow! What a beautiful and amazing aricle! Lovely.

  • MischaLee

    MischaLee said 6 years ago

    What a great article! I read something not too long ago about light pollution, and how it affects wildlife. We are all affected by light and dark, and it helps regulate our bodily cycles. It's funny how sometimes as humans we are so focused on "improving" our surroundings, not always thinking that maybe things are as they should be to begin with! I really like the idea of turning lights down and using reflective surfaces. The other article also mentioned directing outdoor light downward with shades. It might make people tired to be in lower lighting, but couldn't we all use a little more sleep anyway?

  • LeshasWorkshop

    LeshasWorkshop said 6 years ago

    I loved the story but would also have loved to have seen a counterpoint offered, especially with regards to personal safety (yes, eyes are essential, but if they can't see, not much good) and architectural design. Lighting design doesn't have to create unnecessary light pollution and can serve as daytime architectural rhythmic elements. Personal lighting alone may sound rustic and charming - but not in my neighborhood. I enjoyed the points made in this post, but, again, I would like to see a further entry dealing with how to cross the safety hurdle. If I'm gonna carry a turnip, I'd guess I'd better be carrying.

  • beecloser

    beecloser said 6 years ago

    Open the curtains! You'll get used to it and remember being a kid and staring at the moon while waiting for sleep to come. I use real light as much as I can. My husband also laughs at me for wondering around in the dark just cause I hate fake light. I can see just fine :) YAY!!

  • SmitherineDesigns

    SmitherineDesigns said 6 years ago

    This article fascinates me!

  • CypressHouse

    CypressHouse said 6 years ago

    Turning out the lights really makes you live in the present moment. It's amazing how the flick of the switch shuts out more than just what is visible. All your other senses kick in as an instant reminder of our being. Great article!

  • linnaeatillett

    linnaeatillett said 6 years ago

    We made a turnip lamp! Burns for hours, stays moist, and outdoors the flame is protected from the winds…And, if you get hungry, you can roast and eat the turnip. See the picture - http://www.tillettlighting.com/research/

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