I try to get my posts out in the AM unless we have to visit the vet or sit at the mechanic’s shop. But as we get to the waning side of the year I reflected that my social life has really been non-existent this year and a lot of ventures have not gone as planned. So today’s post will come after I return this PM from a day of having some fall fun. I am going to the orchard for some apples and fresh cider and then I am going to catch a local trio, Delaplane. at the Starr Hill brewery. I first encountered Starr Hill at a beer festival in Maryland years before I moved to Virginia and their brews were excellent. I have driven by at least a dozen times and never stopped at the brewery, although I have bought the beer at the store. Today is the day. It is sunny and supposed to go up to 85F/29.4C so It will be a nice day for going to the orchard and then cooling down with some seasonal beers and music for an afternoon. All this writing about the pleasures of October is hard work. I think a bit of personal indulgence is deserved. After all although I promised myself I would do a post a day for the month, a challenge to increase my productivity in all things, not just writing, I also 00promised myself an Oktoberfest.
This is one reason cats were associated with evil. Man has always been afraid of the dark and cats occupy the darkness with impunity. Dark has negative connotations almost no matter what it is applied to. This is unfortunate and regrettable.
We could start with the “Dark Ages” . In the context of medieval Europe this refers to a period which is really the Early Middle Ages, AD 500 – 1000. Our understanding of things have adjusted the dates over time but it’s roughy this period. The centuries immediately following the fall of Rome were marked by barbarian invasions, population decline, cultural and economic deterioration, and (to modern historians) a lack of records, therefore the “dark” label. The label can squarely be laid at the feet of Petrarch, the Italian poet, writing in the 1330s but was reinforced by the bias of later scholars against anything that wasn’t a classical golden age. Most recently the trend has been to greatly reduce it’s application to periods deemed dark only in the sense of an information blackout due to a dearth of historical records.
Darkness, however, is necessary and good. Our modern obsession with light has actually created an environment which is detrimental to our health. Our environment is so unnatural we don’t know nature when we see it. According to the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), the sky glow of Los Angeles is visible from an airplane 200 miles away. When L. A. lost power in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, panicked residents called local emergency centers to report seeing a strange “giant, silvery cloud” in the dark sky. What they were seeing was actually the Milky Way, long obliterated by the urban sky glow.
I find in this incident an uncanny reminder of Isaac Asimov’s story Nightfall. According to Asimov’s in his autobiography, editor John Campbell asked Asimov to write the story after discussing with him a quotation from Ralph Waldo Emerson. “If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God!” Campbell felt Emerson was very wrong in his prediction. According to Asimov, he said “I think men would go mad.”
There is mounting evidence our attempts t0 overwhelm the dark are making us sick. For example, melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland, is secreted at night and is known for helping to regulate the body’s circadian clock. Melatonin triggers a host of biologic activities and melatonin levels drop precipitously in the presence of artificial or natural light. The circadian clock affects physiologic processes in almost all organisms. These processes include brain wave patterns, hormone production, cell regulation, and other biologic activities. Disruption of the circadian clock is linked to several medical disorders in humans.
I myself, love the dark and wish more than anything my numerous ignorant neighbors would turn out their prison spot light style front porch lights at some point rather than leaving them on all night. We have street lights, it’s not as though the streets are impassable. Most of my neighbors are retired or work normal daytime hours too. Why they need the bloody lights on all night is beyond me. The cats are all he sleep disruption I need. And even their sleep is disrupted by he lights sometimes.
My cats are more crepuscular than nocturnal, thankfully. Cats combining daylight activity with nighttime activity are commonly known as crepuscular. Crepuscular cats lounge around and lay low around midday to avoid the heat in summer, then become more active in the early morning and early evening hours. Artificial heating and cooling can effect this but I keep that at a minimum.
Even as I write this on a cool, gray, overcast day I have watched both Dolly and Milk engage in some wild racing around the house and it’s mid-morning. I was just reading that moonlit nights and dreary, cloudy days can lure the crepuscular cat into activity. I guess I can verify the research is good.