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Issue 316

Finding Light by Daniel Ablitt rhythm of the seasons. In summer we can rise early, use the dawn chorus as our alarm clock, and soak up the sunshine. But in winter there is a reason we feel more sluggish, more drawn to hibernation. Winter is the time for long nights, reflection, shelter and sleep – to prepare for the lighter half of the year while embracing the tranquillity of darkness. Western civilisation may be largely diurnal, but to spend time outdoors after nightfall is a natural behaviour that we can all benefit from. A flask of coffee and a friend are all we need to venture out into the wilderness, surrendering to the darkness and tuning in to the sounds, smells and textures of the landscape. It’s a chance to break out of our comfort zones and liberate ourselves from the idea that the nightscape is a place for other creatures to enjoy without us. We may spend most of our waking hours in daylight, but a nocturnal excursion is also the perfect antidote to the bright lights, bustle and noise of modern life, the perfect excuse to put down our smartphones, step outside and watch the sunlight fade to a canopy of stars. So, as the night draws in this season, I’ll be watching the South Downs transform from the familiar into the unknown, allowing myself to escape once more into the secret world of Nature after dark.

Tiffany Francis is a Nature writer and artist. Her third book, Dark Skies, is published on 5 September by Bloomsbury.

Resurgence & Ecologist


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