Wednesday, August 27, 2008


When I first came to the Pellice valley to live one of the most remarkable things was the absence of aircraft in the skies. Just one or two very occasionally, and only then way off to the west of us.

Last night sitting out in front of my hammock watching for shooting stars along the milky way in a most spectacular moonless sky I found it difficult not to allow my feelings of deep loathing for humanity to spring to the surface instead of drowning them and concentrating on the beauty of the firmament above me. 5 satellites racing between the stars and dozens and dozens (no exaggeration here) of bloody aircraft flashing their blasted lights all over the place. There was not a quadrant of the sky without planes in it. I counted 13 in as many seconds without turning my head. It’s horrible. Oh for the end of the oil reserves or a mega computer virus! Why do they have to have flashing lights anyway? I mean, if they are so safe and controlled by ATC as they say they are why do they need flashing lights? Is it maybe that they are not that confident in plotting where each of the them are? Is it because, like down here, everyone seems to be obsessed with lights?

What ever the reasons the ancient poetry of the night sky has been tainted. It’s difficult to reflect on the bustle and hum of the stars when metal tubes with disco lights full of people keep flashing their way across your field of vision (still pink in the middle by the way, I’m gonna have to go to the docs). Something like contemplating your navel when you have fleas: very difficult to stay focussed and forget about humanity.

Next morning when I woke up the sky was deep blue and I mean deep, deep blue with not a cloud in it. The after only 10 minutes there were 5 con trails an hour later dozens of them and after I finished fixing the guests’ brekker the trails had widened out and formed real clouds and a beautiful day turned into a streaky sort of overcast day. I’m not that ignorant of climatology that I think it wouldn’t have clouded up anyway but I don’t believe these trails don’t precipitate things and anyway I don’t want my sky filled with streaky clouds. Bring on higher oil prices. Bring on extremely unutterably mega high oil prices. Bring on oil monopolies and cartels which want even more profit. You want to ruin my sky to go to sharm el sheik or to another bloody conference in the states, you damn well pay for it. And while we’re at it let’s have a few meteor showers knocking out a few thousand satellites too.

Oh well, one can but dream I suppose.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am utterly guilty regarding flights, it is the only way I get to see my older daughters, I do carbon offset all of the flights four times a year and even though the short haul flights are meant to do less damage as they take lower flight paths, I still feel terribly guilty. As for a huge internet virus don't wish it please, it is often the only communication I get to another human being than my baby, sad isn't it :s

Anyway back to your blog, I do understand where you are coming from on this, having had to spend my summers with my aunt in Shannon every year, orange glare from the street lights, planes flying over day and night, often very low enough to shake the windows, I spent most of the night wishing for my parents to arrive back from spain so I could go home. The light pollution was/is terrible.

It's ok here, still orange lights from the street but there is only one street which helps, unfortunately the air force base for the sub sonic planes is fairly nearby and those things sneak up on you and scare the life out of you!

However when I go home, about ten miles from kilkenny, no one lives near, almost always clear skies at night, I spent a lot of my childhood (up to 17) climbing out of the roof window and sitting on the roof, staring at the moon and stars or reading a book out there in the crisp air, or watching the moon reflect off the river that ran through our field. I can still taste and feel the air if I close my eyes. It is devastating to think many kids will never have that peace with the night.
A town nearby my home in Ireland is starting to spread out and if you turn your back to the river and look up, all you can see are stars tainted orange :(