Last year as we prepared for the lantern walk, a friend came across this essay about light and darkness by local writer Leslie Morgenson. It speaks to the heart of why we do this. Over the past two Saturdays we posted excerpts one and two. Here’s the last of three:
In recent years a movement called ‘Starlight Reserves’ has claimed that we have “A right to starlight”. The aim is to uphold the integrity of the night sky by maintaining areas unpolluted with light, where natural night sky conditions are kept intact. The Starlight Reserves state that an unpolluted night sky should be considered, “an inalienable right of humankind equivalent to all other environmental, social, and cultural rights.” The town of Tekapo, New Zealand is presently waiting UNESCO’s approval on becoming the first Starlight Reserve. Other locations around the world that have expansive space to view the night sky away from light pollution are also proposing to become future sites of a ‘night park’.
I have become smitten with the night sky. And I find courage in Vincent Van Gogh’s reverence for the nocturnal, painting ‘Starry Night Over the Rhone’ from his sanatorium window at a time of great personal crisis; and later continuing with a series entitled “Study in the Night”. I am heartened by the stories of my father, moving through the years of blackouts with the rest of Europe’s citizenry during WWII. And then after the war, sitting among strangers under a new moon, waiting to cross from East to West Germany, hiding at the edge of a forest, the night sky a constant companion on an unfamiliar journey.
The lantern walk crew are also smitten with the night sky. Join us tomorrow night, lantern in hand, as we walk with the darkness and the light.
* With thanks to Leslie for being willing to share this excerpt. The entire essay, originally printed in the Good Work News from The Working Centre, is available here.