Archive | February 8, 2014

Dear Winchester

Dear Winchester:

You are ruining my view.  Not in the way you’d expect.  I actually can’t see you from where our farm sits, but you affect my view day and night, none-the-less.

You see, it’s your lights.  Years ago when we bought this farm, we choose it for its remote location.  We didn’t want city lights obstructing our view of the stars and the Milky Way at night.  Our view was stunning.  In your artificial light filled nights, you can’t imagine the display of the heavens you are missing, the frequent meteor showers, the mysterious glow of the galaxy.

And then Walmart put in a new store on Route 50 near the Hospital.  This Walmart is open 24 hours a day and they light up that sprawling concrete parking lot all night long.  Since, other business have been built along that area.  Now, to look east at night is reminiscent of seeing the lights coming from Mount Doom in Mordor  in the Lord of the Rings.

During the day, we have a daily reminder of Winchester’s electrical consumption.  Our formerly pristine view is now scarred by enormous power lines that cross the mountain, in response to the increase demands of Winchester and the DC metropolitan area.  You have no idea how many acres of woods and farms were stripped to make way for these lines.  It just hardly seems to be “environmental.”


There are lots of options for those who wish to conserve energy, and the view for that matter.  Lights for security at night can be switched to motion detector lights that do not have to be constantly on.  Human beings used to live more closely tied to the cycles of daylight, and now many stay up late and start their days even later.  Perhaps living more closely to Benjamin Franklin’s advice:  “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise,” would apply here, with the added advantage that it might save thousands of miles of electric poles and preserve the views of the stars and night sky.

Dear Winchester, could you please turn off your lights?