By Irena Djuric

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Tonight we want to remind you of the luxury of darkness, of the things you might discover once the lights flicker off. As the clock ticks towards 8:30 for Earth Hour, we’ll unplug gadgets and hush the lights, and create rolling blankets of blackness across the planet’s skies. We do this in solidarity – one billion strong – as a vote against irresponsible energy use, against global warming, and for the planet Earth.

But we also do it because we miss the way the stars look on the darkest nights, and the way that candles flicker to warm up a house – or the way that voices hush to match the quiet evening that settles in when you simply let things get dark.

Take a moment to enjoy this one rare moment without the eternal electric buzz, without the distractions of TV’s and laptops and coffee makers and vacuum cleaners. How long has it been since you’ve cooked by candlelight? Or dusted off a ghost story and curled up armed with cocktails, cozy blankets, and hushed friends? Tonight might be a good time to read poetry out loud, or to notice all the ways skin can taste and feel against the backdrop of a quiet room.

Spend the time tasting, thinking, talking, touching, if you can. Spend this hour with every sense engaged in the little luxuries you can surely afford – a warm bath, a slow kiss, a skillful checkmate. The hour is short, and soon the buzz of the world will come back with the artificial glitter of our modern-day nights.

It’s 7:30 here in Chicago and there’s the sound of rain pattering against the windows. When the lights go off in an hour, that will be our soundtrack. Tea lights will add little glints of warmth across the house. We’ll eat the best food with our hands, in darkness, to really taste each bite. Perhaps we’ll take a walk down our newly dimmed neighborhood and enjoy the electric-less hour, knowing that inside each little blackened apartment is a group of people rediscovering conversation, rediscovering the simple things, rediscovering each other.

An hour from now, who will you be and who will you be with? Make the darkness worth while.

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