The Betrayal of the Young Ones of Today

When I was a Child…

When I was little I swore to myself that I would not be one of those grown-ups who told children “When I was a child, I walked 10 miles back and forth to school every day in all weather– blizzards and ice storms, and I carried 15 pounds of books on my back and I took care of my eight little sisters and brothers and such and such and such and such.”  But here I am, not telling it to my grandchildren, but worse, writing it in a blog post.  My excuse?   I feel almost an obligation to tell young people what they are missing and point the finger at the cause.  There seems to have been a fundamental shift in reality as we know it.  Maybe every generation feels this and that is why there are these older people going around saying: “When I was a child…”

When I was a child, I remember autumns so brisk you could feel the frost on your cheeks in October rather than a sun beating down 80 degrees in “unseasonably warm” weeks of extended summer.  I remember Thanksgivings so cold the grown-ups drank hot toddies at the Thanksgiving Day parade and we children would go home with frozen fingers and red cheeks and warm by the fire before the grand feast began. It was never 70 degrees in November or God forbid in December!! And I remember ice skating on a frozen pond in January and going home with toes so frozen they hurt when you put them near the radiator to warm up.  And swollen red fingers.  But the hurt felt good and the fresh air felt good and the icy cheeks felt good, for you knew you were really alive, with a keen mind and an invigoration that rivaled any cup of Frapaccino from Starbucks.  And I remember springs so cool you needed to have a spring coat or jacket.  Winter did not just stop one day and summer begin the next with 90 degree days in April.  My memories are precious and the young today may never know such memories in great thanks to Global Warming.  Now it is approaching  normal to have 70 degrees in November and 90 degrees in April.

And most of all when I was little I remember looking at the night sky and seeing a phantasmagoram of stars.  Some readers may remember 50 years ago looking up at the Sputnik passing overhead and they may recall the stars seeming brighter then.  They were.  Today thanks to light pollution we see “less than one per cent of what Galileo would have been able to see without a telescope” as David Owen writes in his recent article The Dark Side.  This light pollution is called “sky glow” and basically it means that because of air pollution the atmosphere is more reflective rather than being transparent making it harder to see the stars. 

Of course this brings up the outrage and perils of air pollution which clouds the skies night and day!!!

On top of that so much illumination from the earth has faded the stars above thanks to things called “glare bombs” which are light fixtures that spread light sideways right into our eyes.  Owen explains that the “eye adapts to the brightest thing in sight… when you have glare, the eye adapts to the glare, but then you can’t see anything darker.”  It has to do with the rods and cones in our eyes.  Rods are what allow us to see at night and cones give us color vision.  The rods are very sensitive and can take an hour to readjust to the dark after being exposed to a light.  The brighter the light, the longer it takes to adjust.  So we are making it harder to see with these bright light packs that Owen points out make it easier for crime to occur because it is harder for people to see in the dark areas.  This is why deer, who have superior night vision due to a greater concentration of rods, are blinded by headlights of cars.  It has nothing to do with their intelligence and again, like all of this, plenty to do with man’s so called “progress.”  And these light packs are so bright, Owen reckons they could probably be seen from earth with a hobbyist’s telescope if they were put on the moon.   He points out that in a “truly dark sky” one can see more shooting stars than one can count.  I have never seen a shooting star.  My husband saw one as a child in camp in Wisconsin.

“I need a place where I can see the stars,” my husband said when we decided to buy our renovated barn in Stanfordville.  And when we gaze at the night sky it sometimes takes our breath away and indeed on some nights we just stand outside gazing upwards speechless.  It is the “awe” factor and seeing ourselves within the perspective of the infinite.  But in the 5 years we have been here, the sky has become brighter and the stars harder to see.  Poughkeepsie is a bright glow on the horizon and just a few weeks ago some sort of electrical transformer was installed on our road with a piercing green light maybe one inch in diameter that illumines the road and the  whole front of our house at night.  My husband calls it “the green eye of Mordor.”  This light makes star gazing more difficult.

I mourn the frosty falls, the cold winters, the cool springs and the brilliant night sky.  But at least people of my generation have their memories.  The young people of today have been short-changed by my generation who have squandered nature.  The youth of today have grown up deprived of some of the most brilliant shows of natural beauty and variety in climate.  Global warming and pollution are the criminals here. They have robbed today’s children of some of life’s greatest treasures– treasures  that turn into warm memories, themselves treasures, of “When I was a child…”

Welcome to samples of my writing showcasing “Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things.”  “Eye-locks” is a Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir in narrative form that describes the triumph of love over mental illness.

26 responses

  1. That’s a great blog, i enjoyed reading it a lot. I love the night sky and stars shimmering up there. Gazing at the night is a very peaceful thing. I’m lucky enough to have experienced that in my village, which is comparatively less polluted. I do feel like missing on a lot of things that people had around 50 or 100 years ago.

    Liked by 2 people

    January 20, 2023 at 3:54 PM

    • Yes, and for that I am very sorry! It is too late. But perhaps you may see it in your lifetime if we can all get our act together and save the earth!!

      Liked by 1 person

      January 20, 2023 at 5:24 PM

      • I hope that happens soon!!✨️


        January 21, 2023 at 1:51 AM

      • Me, too!! Unfortunately it is up you and younger generations to rectify the mistakes of my generation. I am so sorry about that but I remember feeling helpless as we watched our politicians make bad choices over and over and over again. Was very frustrating because we didn’t vote them in. This silent majority, no longer silent, did, and it is horrible to watch!

        Liked by 1 person

        January 21, 2023 at 8:53 AM

      • That’s in the past now, but hopefully things will change for better as young people are getting more and more serious about such issues!

        Liked by 1 person

        January 21, 2023 at 9:23 AM

      • Yes, all of our hope lies with the young people of today… people like yourself❣️

        Liked by 1 person

        January 21, 2023 at 10:02 AM

      • 😌💕💫

        Liked by 1 person

        January 21, 2023 at 10:24 AM

  2. Beautifully said, my friend. The awe of nature is something that is lost in so many places. I’m sorry that the skies around your home are being blotted out by unnecessary lights. We all need to be able to see the stars.

    Liked by 2 people

    January 20, 2023 at 4:24 PM

    • Well, this was written awhile ago. We are now in NYC. Talk about light pollution!!


      January 20, 2023 at 5:33 PM

  3. Your writing is so good.

    Liked by 2 people

    January 20, 2023 at 7:32 PM

  4. Thank you so much, Crystal!


    January 20, 2023 at 7:57 PM

  5. I love the poetry and the urgency of your words. The nostalgia, the pain, and yet the glimmer of hope and the sound of alarm, that there are still memories to be made in this very life in spite of all the perplexing changes happening in this planet we live in. Great post, Ellen!

    Liked by 2 people

    January 20, 2023 at 9:55 PM

    • Thank you so much, D.G., for your lovely comment❣️I certainly hope it is not too late. 🙏🏽

      Liked by 1 person

      January 20, 2023 at 10:28 PM

  6. Very well written, Ellen.

    People not much younger than me, have said that I was fortunate to have grown up in the era that I did. The world was a better place in many ways when I was young, and although everything changes as time goes on, a lot of the detrimental changes to people and the planet, have occurred due to the selfish people who worship money.

    Liked by 2 people

    January 21, 2023 at 5:14 AM

  7. Thank you!! The only hope is in the new generation but they don’t know what they have missed. That I don’t know how to rectify except by speaking out.

    Liked by 1 person

    January 21, 2023 at 10:59 AM

  8. Beautiful image! I imagine “Poughkeepsie glowing in the distance”. I left the East to come back West because I needed more sky…

    Liked by 1 person

    January 22, 2023 at 12:18 AM

    • You were smart!! I wish we had done something like that. Too late to move now. Thanks for liking the painting. That’s exactly how Poughkeepsie looked at night upstate.

      Liked by 1 person

      January 22, 2023 at 8:53 AM

  9. Your memories of the childhood experience is so bright and alive, that I felt like I dive in those faraway time. It will stay with us forever.
    However, if everything stayed like before we even could not communicate through the internet like we do it right now. I am writing this my comment, and it is possible you are reading it at the same time. There are a lot of interesting and useful things have been invented and made our life more interesting and easier. Unfortunately, we sacrificed the World of our childhood.
    I hope the generations of our children and grandchildren will be smarter than us, and they will be capable to fix our mistakes and build better place on the Earth for living.

    Liked by 1 person

    January 24, 2023 at 12:29 PM

    • You are right! There have been some wonderful inventions. They are so wonderful they have become a force for evil as well. But I guess that is true for any innovation. I just hope the young ones can save the earth despite what we did to it!! Thank you for your thoughtful comment.🙏🏽

      Liked by 1 person

      January 24, 2023 at 2:13 PM

  10. Brings back memories. Here in Lima the stars, as you mentioned, lose their brilliance due to the local light and air pollution. I remember driving up, high into the Andes in a countryside where there were no.lights. There, we would all lie on the grass and stare at the Milky Way which formed a glowing necklace across the sky. There we would wait to see the first shooting star. We would only have to wait for a few minutes…… then wait for another …. and another. We would stay there together in the grass mesmerised by the beauty of the night sky. And every time I travel to the Sierra, I still do the same. My daughters have moved on, but I believe, like me, still do the same as well ……. memories ….. the magic of memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    February 17, 2023 at 10:25 AM

  11. Thank you for your beautiful and poetic comment. Yes memories!


    February 17, 2023 at 11:47 AM

  12. Lana Levine

    Global warming – so scary. Those are lovely memories.


    February 19, 2023 at 11:14 AM

    • Yes, lovely memories. Lana, do you get my replies to you?


      February 19, 2023 at 11:46 AM

      • Lana Levine

        Yes I get them. At least I got this one and others.


        February 19, 2023 at 6:50 PM

      • Oh good, just wanted to be sure. Thank you for looking at the posts. Take care❣️Ellen


        February 19, 2023 at 6:55 PM

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