Wonders of the Wilds: A Better Kind of Light Pollution

By Scott A. Yeager for GANT News

It is always a joy to see the reactions of those who visit the Pennsylvania Wilds.  Our region attracts adventurers and travelers seeking an easier pace from all over our Nation.

While the days spent among our ancient mountains, rolling hills, cozy valleys and diverse waterways are never boring, it is astounding to see the utter glee that people exhibit during warm summer nights.

As azure skies give way to tangerine and amethyst sunsets, the air begins to cool as the air is perfumed with the scent of burning wood.

Those who reside year-round in the Wilds know that respite from the heat of a summer’s day comes shortly after the sun dips below the mountain tops.  Hot, humid days calm into cool and comfortable evenings.

For visitors, travelers and residents alike, dusk is not merely an end to the day, it is a new beginning for the senses.

In that small space between dusk and the dark of night, one can experience a magic time, one best shared with others.  In trees and misty fields, fireflies begin their rhythmic play.

At first glance, you may see a single twinkle – Nature’s way of saying “Hello, and welcome to this special place.”  Time fades as you feel the cares and woes that you may have begun to melt like ice cubes in a mug of sweet tea.

The firefly is a special creature, a reminder to us all that even the smallest thing can shine with a brilliance all its own.

Experiencing dusk in the Pennsylvania Wilds is an activity best shared with others; and in particular, you may wish to do so with someone whom you seek a special relationship.

You see, according to legend, fireflies are Nature’s little matchmakers.  It is said that if you seek a special kind of relationship with another person that you should seek the counsel of these glowing sprites.

It is recommended that you seek them out in places where the edge of the forest meets the meadow.  Once there, have a seat – bring a blanket if you wish.  Then calm yourself.  There’s no need to speak above a whisper.

As you see the fireflies glint in and out of the dusky air, you may feel compelled to ask them a question regarding your relationship.

When they and Nature approve of your request, the fireflies will begin to blink in union.  You will know that something special is emerging when intermittent and individual lights begin to blink as one.  Or, so the legend goes.

As the fireflies below begin to rise into the warmth of the trees, your eyes will be treated to a better kind of light pollution.

The warm bioluminescence of summer’s dancing sprites will give way to one of the Pennsylvania Wild’s most spectacular landscapes – the Milky Way.

The night skies of the Pennsylvania Wilds are among the least impacted by light pollution in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Planets, stars, constellations and even other galaxies can be viewed with the naked eye, with a good set of binoculars, or – if you really crave an up close and personal view – a good telescope.

It’s always a joy to see how eyes weary from the lights of cities, offices, schools and mobile devices revile in the splendor of one of our region’s greatest treasures.

Your eyes are bearing witness to skies the way skies were meant to be seen – with someone special, in Nature, and in peace.

Your heart will soar as you come to understand the lyrics of that special song that states in its refrain, “You can’t take the sky from me.”  That, my friend, is freedom – the light within us all.

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