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Kristel Guimara: January 2012 Archives
As the weather turns from ice, rain, snow and ice again; I find myself perusing my bookshelves in search of a good book. Coffee begins to perk on the stovetop and I look over by bellowed shelves laden heavy with the weight of my books.
It is a basic evolutionary fact that humans are diurnal creatures, adapted to living in the sunlight. Yet, we have engineered to fill our days with the maximum amount of light, albeit natural or artificial. Unwanted outdoor lighting causes light pollution to shine outward and upward masking the night sky. Many cities reflect light into the sky and it creates a dome of scattering light that reduces the contrast in the night sky. It may even become impossible to see any but the brightest of stars. Poorly designed lighting, washes out the darkness of the night that not only affects our perception of the night sky but also affects phases of the natural world. Unnatural light illuminates through the night sky and can confuse animal navigation, alter competitive interactions, change predator-prey relationships, and cause physiological harm. The rhythm of life is orchestrated by the natural diurnal patterns of light and dark, so disruption to these patterns impacts the ecological dynamics.
Fresh snow coated our landscape this morning and I eagerly grabbed by snowshoes for a venture out to a nearby trail. As I headed out, the snow began to fall with a light dusting and I watched as it settled on the leaves and branches of each tree and into the crevices of the bark. The temperature was low and the trees were crisp and starched with frost. It seemed the only sound I could hear was the swish-swish sound of my snowshoes. With each step, I looked to see if any sign of life had come before me and no tracks were seen in the frozen stillness.
The blanket of white crystals across our landscape, conjures up thoughts of snowflakes. I love to watch children stand beneath a single flake in an attempt to catch that special flake on their tongue. The action of catching a single flake on their tongue leads to victory to themselves and to their fellow friends for such an act of skill.
As I sit staring out my window, with a fresh cup of coffee in hand, I begin to watch for any bird that makes their way to my feeder. I enjoy the moments in the morning, just when the sun begins to rise and the quiet of the night breaks with a symphony of flutter and chatter. As each bird makes it way to my feeder, I instantly get amnesia for the ones I saw prior and each new one I see is more intriguing and beautiful than the last.