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Despite this we stay- October 9, 2008

It’s Really Really Dark Here

by Carol Dunn

HUERFANO- Ever notice how dark it is at night?  I don’t mean the absence of sunlight.  I mean utter darkness.  Most of us have lived in a city at one time or another.  Either you grew up there, or you went to college there, or your spouse made you move there when you got married.  Whatever the circumstance, you know it never really gets dark in the city.  Oh sure, the sun goes down, but about that time, millions of street lights flicker on.  It’s year-round daylight alternating with twilight.  But not in rural Huerfano County. 

    Street lights are primarily used for safety in the city.  That way burglars and bad guys can sneak around and not get hurt tripping over curbs or falling into window wells.  Around here though, it’s pretty much the opposite.  It’s so dark, burglars and bad guys can’t see where they’re going and they fall into ditches and bear traps.  It tends to discourage a life of crime.

    Another thing that year-round light messes with is our circadian rhythm.  That’s something scientists made up to explain why we all get hungry around the same time.  A wacky circadian rhythm disturbs sleeping, thinking and the change of life (also known as road rage).  You do not see people shooting each other in Walsenburg for not stepping on the gas when the light turns green.  One fellow told me he actually fell asleep once at a red light on Main Street in the wee hours of morning and has no idea how long he was snoozing before he woke up.  No one shot him, and he still had all his hubcaps. 

    Huerfano County is a great place to see the stars and planets.  That may not seem very special unless you’ve lived somewhere like Los Angeles, where you can only see about a dozen stars at night when the air is clear enough.  There are billions of stars out there.  It’s nice to see them, even though I could look a thousand times and NEVER see a guy with a bow and arrow.  It’s still comforting to know that SOMEONE can.