ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY:   Let there be light

© Another Day in the Country

The first thing I do every morning is to walk into the living room and turn on the lights. “Let there be light,” I declare into that shadowed place where we spend so much of our lives. At the turn of a switch, there is, miraculously, light! I wish this room were flooded with light naturally; but, alas, due to the porches which make a small house look larger, this room is a dreary spot, desperately in need of light.

Next stop is the kitchen, also sorely in need of light. I helped design this new house for our mother several years ago, so I really can’t complain about the placement of the windows. However, we should have taken more notice of the older homes with windows on every wall where the sun could shine through all day long because I crave the light — especially this time of year.

The early morning light does come into my bedroom windows, casting shadows on the wall through the sheer curtains. It’s like an art show every morning when the light appears in the east. No wonder our extremely distant forefathers worshipped the sun. We’d be lost without it. So, in the dimmer recesses of my home I’m turning on lights to simulate the sun.

I’m addicted to light and not just any old light. It’s a particular, warm, color that I need. LED lights don’t cut it with their icy impersonal glow. And I don’t like those new twirly fluorescent bulbs that the Powers That Be are forcing us to use. That light is cold and industrial, not warm and homey.

I was horrified a couple of years ago to find my favorite 100 watt bulbs disappearing from store shelves, so I stockpiled them. Even though I’d like to think I’m ecologically attuned in most areas, with regard to my 100 watt light bulbs, I still want to be extravagant.

What I’d really like is a choice in the matter. I’d like someone to ask before the bulbs disappear. Could we please vote? Given a choice, I could bargain, like asking, “Please, could I give up Christmas lights, if they would just let my regular old bulbs be used the rest of the year?”

A friend gave me a book about the need for full-spectrum light in our daily lives. I thought that maybe this is what I needed: full-spectrum lights. I discovered they were hard to find, impossible to find in local stores, so I tried further afield, finding them in Salina for a hefty price per bulb. I carefully, hopefully, brought them home — enough for one room in my home. After removing all the old 100-watt bulbs from the overhead fixture, I inserted the new bulbs and then turned on the switch.

“Oh, no!” I cried in alarm. This no longer looked like my warm kitchen. Full spectrum or not the room was bathed in a cold blue light like some modern, cold, calculating, high-rise. This wouldn’t do for my little cottage in the country. The bulbs came out.

I haven’t been the only thing craving light. The pond plants in my “Wintering Over” project in the spare bathroom aren’t doing so hot, either. I installed a grow light in the overhead fixture which made my bathroom look like a marijuana grower’s project, all night, all day now for several months. The fish are doing well, but the plants committed suicide one after another. Some of their roots are still floating eerily in the tub for fish cover and now I’m contemplating just how to get those fast little fish transferred from the bathtub to the pond when the time comes.

Skeeter, my cat, loves sitting on the edge of the tub contemplating the same dilemma. The other day, I came home to find her guarding the bathroom door and looking guilty. When I looked in the room, I found one of the sickly looking pond plants sprawled in the middle of the bathroom rug. Skeeter looked up at me and then down at the plant.

Clearly, we communicated who was responsible for the wet blob on the floor. She did not look repentant and she knew that I knew that an almost-dead plant was not what she’d been after. I scanned the now plant-deprived tub and watched the fish darting back and forth, just daring me, or any cat, to attempt to catch them.

On sleepless nights I’ve devised a plan to net the fish and remove them from the tub into a smaller tank until the weather warms. I think this will work for all but the loach who is the fastest and most devious of all. I have no idea how to catch the loach in this big environment.

I fantasize him going accidentally down the drain perhaps to emerge in the sewer pond where he’ll live happily ever after feeding on refuse. The loach, a true survivor who thrives on cleaning things up. Not to fret, I will catch the loach, but not today. Today, I will just celebrate the sunshine on another day in the country.

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