Contributed By: Angela Moore

When I was a child, one of my favorite places in the world was my grandparents’ farm, deep in the countryside. The sky over the empty fields always seemed infinite — and infinitely humbling — and utterly, utterly dark. I can still see perfectly in my mind’s eye the view out the bathroom window at night: a lonely little patch of grass illuminated by a bright floodlight — one tiny spot of light in an yawning expanse of darkness. It was a sight that was simultaneously thrilling and terrifying — how puny and insignificant that little light seemed, nearly swallowed up by the great dark world.

I always looked, always took that little peek through the curtains after a nighttime visit to the bathroom. That great unknown that lay beyond what I could see represented a different world, a wilder world than the one I spent most of my days in, and that touched the childish part of me that was still full of wonder. I grew up, of course, and my grandparents sold the farm. Part of my heart broke at losing that wild bit of land and sky, and in my adulthood I’ve seldom had the opportunity to experience that sense of smallness and awe that only being in nature seems to illicit so powerfully.

This book, I’m happy to say, helped to reawaken some of that old feeling in me. Those memories of having some grand sense of the universe, of a world that is so much larger than the one we abide in most of our days. Bogard is clearly besotted with the night sky, and his book shows that in elegant prose that often touches on the poetic and frequently quotes it. More than being an examination of the physical, scientific realities of light pollution, Bogard’s work is equally as concerned with the philosophical and spiritual relationship we as humans have with the night sky, and an illuminating (pun intended) and lovely reflection on what we stand to lose as that sky grows increasingly bright. Well worth a read for anyone who has ever gazed up at the stars and felt that sense of wonder, and who values that feeling and wants to preserve it for generations to come.


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