At my family’s cabin on a Minnesota lake, I knew woods so dark that sample of 5 paragraph essay hands disappeared before my eyes. I knew night skies in which meteors left smoky trails across sugary spreads of stars.
But now, when 8 of 10 children born in the United States will never know a sky dark enough for the Milky Way, I worry we are rapidly losing night’s natural darkness before realizing its worth. All life evolved to the steady rhythm of bright days and dark nights. Today, though, when we feel the closeness of nightfall, we reach quickly for a light switch. And too little darkness, meaning too much artificial light at night, spells trouble for all. Our bodies need darkness to produce the hormone melatonin, which keeps certain cancers from developing, and our bodies need darkness for sleep.