light pollution cartoon

On a Dark Summer Night…

… a mom sits outside, in a backyard lit only by her neighbor’s garage light and the ambient amber glow street lights and city life.  Somewhere in the darkness lurks a glass of merlot.  She brought it out after she tucked the kids in, but before the sun tucked behind the horizon.  She knows it’s out there… somewhere.

She fumbles for her laptop.  That’s what she allegedly came out here for.  She came out here to write.  To enjoy the cool summer night, a glass of wine, and the patio table she built that afternoon.  But she sat there, lost in her thoughts and worries until long after sundown.  Why hadn’t she heard back about the jobs she applied for?  Should she reach out to them, or was it too soon?  And what about her son’s birthday party? Why hadn’t anyone responded yet?  Will anyone come?  What should she get for him?  What should she suggest his sister get for him?  …and on and on…

The power button is easy to find and the screen lights up.  There’s her wine glass.  She holds it to the screen, checking for swimming ants and kamikaze mosquitoes.  It’s clear, thank goodness.  She takes a gulp.  Not the way a connoisseur drinks wine, but the way a stressed out mommy drinks wine.  She sighs, logs in to her laptop, and takes another, more demure, sip as the screen loads.

In the darkness of her backyard patio, she is at a loss for what to write about.  She was going to post about the joys of line-dried clothes on a summer day, but she failed to take a single picture while her snowflake comforter billowed in the June breeze.

So in the dark, she thinks about how she needs lights in her backyard canopy.  She has a couple of floodlights, but nothing that gently lights up the canopy with a welcoming glow.  Enough light to read by.  Enough light to hold a conversation.  Enough light to keep track of a wine glass.

Maybe some Christmas lights.  Repurpose those bad boys.  But then she has to reach behind the mosquito nets to plug them in each time.  Not a deal breaker, but not easy either.  How about some solar lights?  They can’t be the stake in the ground floodlights.  Too much of a pain to mow around, and not great for reading.  There has to be a way to provide light above her head without going behind her canopy.

She’ll find it.  She’ll come back and vanquish the dark patio.

… but how?

To be continued . . .


header cartoon courtesy of the Cape Cod Astronomical Society.

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